Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A good bear

I just finished reading If the World Becomes So Bright, Keith Taylor's latest collection of poems. It came out this year from Wayne State University Press as part of the Made In Michigan Writer's Series. I saw him read from it at Shaman Drum in March. He's a great person to see/hear read. Totally unassuming, not at all pretentious, completely genuine in his enthusiasm for poetry. He's got a great eye--no little detail is lost on him.

I'll be spending this weekend with Keith and a bunch of other writers, in fact, at the 2009 Bear River Writers' Conference at Camp Michigania up north.

Here's one of my favorites from If the World Becomes So Bright:
for Stephen Leggett

OK. I'll entertain the possibility
that we have these long lives
purely to raise these coffee cups
at this moment in this one place
or that our purpose--if we need one--
may be to lift one half-drowned
yellow jacket from the birdbath,
set it on the lawn chair and watch
it buzz off to its next in the back lot.
I'll admit the hope that we intersect
with everything--bee, okay, coffee cup--
in a glorious unnamed pattern.
But I can't turn one thing into any
other: the solitary bittern's call
rising from the marsh at dusk remains
the echoing call of one secretive bird
hidden behind a forest of dry rushes.
It is what it is and would be that
without my eyes or ears or my ability
to name it and find its place on any map.

(Keith Taylor, from If the World Becomes So Bright, 2009 Wayne State University Press)

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