Tuesday, October 30, 2007
JONATHAN HOLDEN (1941 - )
Jonathan Holden, first
Holden is passionate about poetry, both as critic and poem-maker. His brilliance manifests in his performances as well as writings. He can quote entire poems by major American and British poets for hours. He masters fields of knowledge—mathematics, tennis,
This poem, about apparently ordinary sights, comments upon instinctive knowledge. It mimics the perfect balance that baseball players and sparrows both must practice in order to survive. The lines shift in rhythm, to imitate birds totter and regain balance. Holden uses a passel of rich descriptive verbs, like “pirouette” and “stab,” to describe reflexive movements of the birds and players. These contrast to hesitations—reflection and philosophy—in the poem. Instinct keeps us alive, even when in the dark of night.
These infielders are definite
as sparrows at work.
Split that seed with one peck
There is no minor league
for birds. There is
exactly one way
to pirouette into a double play
perfectly. The birds
don’t dare reflect on what
they do, each hop, each stab and
scramble through the air into the
catch of the sycamore’s
is a necessity,
absolute. To stay alive
out in the field, you must be
an authority on parabolas
and fear philosophy.
Education: Holden grew up in rural
Career: This poet has published twenty books of poetry, essays, memoirs, and a novel. Knowing is his most current book of poetry (University of Arkansas Press 2000). He is poet-in-residence and University Distinguished Professor at
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Jo McDougall was born and raised in
McDougall brings a Southern sensibility to her writings about the great open
Time creates a vivid dimension within McDougall’s Midwestern settings, through the agent of memory. McDougall writes: “Memory is the poet’s calico landscape of the imagination, recalled from the advantage of maturity.” In her poetics, memory appears as flashbacks, obsessive replays, time travel, sustained observations, and reflections. Ironically, McDougall’s survivors’ humor and honest insights construct a natural theology.
In “Blessing,” McDougall creates a story with selected details. The
My neighbor hangs out the morning wash
and a storm dances up.
She strips the line,
the children’s pajamas with the purple ducks,
her husband’s shorts,
the panties she had hidden under a sheet.
When the sun comes out
she comes back
with the panties and the sheets, the shorts and the pajamas.
This is my ritual, not hers.
May her husband never stop drinking and buy her a dryer.
Education: McDougall graduated from
Career: This poet worked has published five books of poetry from BookMark Press-University of Missouri-Kansas City;
© Denise Low, photo
A downloadable version is available for non-commercial use from www.kansaspoets.com