Anne Love Woodhull & Jane Yolen

Thursday, April 7, 2016, at 7:00 pm, poets Anne Love Woodhull and Jane Yolen will continue the ninth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)

Anne Love Woodhull

Anne Love Woodhull

Anne Love Woodhull lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. She has coauthored three children’s books and is the author of This Is What We Have (March Street Press, 2001), a poetry chapbook. In 2013 a book of her poems, Night With Its Owl, was published by Hedgerow Books. Working with children and adults, she is an art and play therapist and teacher.

Jane Yolen [Photo credit: Jason Stemple]

Jane Yolen [Photo credit: Jason Stemple]

Jane Yolen is the author of over 350 books, most but not all for children She has seven books of adult poetry out. Her work has been translated into over 20 languages, and  has won many awards, including two Nebulas, a Caldecott, the Jewish Book Award, the Catholic Library’s Regina Medal (though not religious she seems to cover the religious awards from A-Z, or rather C-J.) Six colleges and universities (including Smith and UMass) have awarded her honorary doctorates, she has been named a Grand Master of Fantasy and Grand Master of Science Fiction/Fantasy poetry) and one of her awards set her good coat on fire.

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RAW UNFILTERED HONEY / Anne Love Woodhull

I am six and running, thinking
I ‘m the same as the swan.
Slapping my feet along sand
as they slap their black webbed feet
on top of water,
wings almost
in the grip of air. And then
they rise away from me
now stopped and crushed. Why
am I not with them? I watch
until their disappearance pours me
back into myself on earth.
I kick a stone. Something I am
is not enough. Not the ten cent comic
I get each Sunday after church,
or the gold paper ring
from my father’s cigar he places
on my thumb with ceremony.

I kick a stone.
My grandmother says-
When a tree falls in the woods, and you are not there
to hear it, it does not make a sound.
She wants to prove that I am necessary.

I hear the elm fall in the woods, but
do not feel useful at all and I am restless
for something I will never call god.

(First published in Massachusetts Review)

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PARTS OF SPEECH / Jane Yolen

This is my husband lying in the bed.
This was my husband lying in the bed.
I am having trouble
with even the simplest of verbs.
By was do I mean he is dead
even though I can see a shallow bird breath
beating beneath the cage of his chest bones?
Or am I remembering
a taller man, straight-backed,
who drew his oxygen right from the air?
This is my husband lying in the bed.
Lying is an interesting word,
Meaning prone
or prone to untruths
like a beautiful woman
who lies because she can,
not because she has to.
Besides, he may be laying down not lying,
a part of speech I have never gotten right,
no matter how many poems I have written.
This is my husband lying in the bed.
Why do we say in,
as he is stuffed inside the mattress,
a feather of a man,
“a cloud in trousers”, as he often quoted to me,
as we lay together on the squeaky brass bed,
which is how I became
acquainted with Mayakovsky.
And now my old cloud,
you are so thin and twisty,
it hurts to lie beside you.
This is my husband lying in the bed.
How proprietal that my looks,
out of place with the rest of the sentence,
as if forty-six years with him
gives me a kind of ownership.
One cannot own this man
anymore than one can own a wild bird,
that places its allegiance
to wind and sky and sometimes,
sometimes,
to a single mate.

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