Diane Lockward

My Arty Ars Poetica: A Cento

...poets pretend they don't know anything
about their own writing processes and get
arty and mysterious when asked about it...
--Kenny Williams
, Rattle

I was raised in Abilene. More chickens than humans
down there. Worked construction, captured moments,

created stories. It was solitary work. Below the Blue
Ridge Mountains loved a man with a gnarly beard.

I'm pathologically nice. My brother has perfect pitch.
I write to one-up him. I use an assumed voice, am

learning the names of things, and can't stop--I have
obsessive-compulsive disorder. Once threatened

in a beer joint in Arkansas. Spent hours among tall bolts
of fabric, tins of loose buttons, and leftover notions. My

words are knotted twine. Call it a reinvention. Walked
a peach orchard alone at night and saw the Milky Way,

felt freighted with a sense of mortality. Sleep sounds
like a pleasant dream. Cut my musical teeth in the jungle.

This is my singing, my attempt to insulate the violence,
to euphemize the shooting. Misery is universal. The only

math I know is balance. This is my way of preserving
memory. I make beautiful the moments of terror.

In My Bones

    my nose,
  into my throat,
 a salmon swims
 in my bones.
 She navigates
 the damaged
  ecosystem of my
   body, slips inside
    porous bones.
     Like an engineer
     fixing a faulty dam,
      she lays her eggs
       in the holes, the
        hollow reds.
        All night I feel her
        undulations, the
        arching and
       reaching of back
      and belly. I move
     with the flapping
    of her tail. Her
   voice bubbles up
  to the surface.
 My ears swoosh
with water and
syllables. I hear her
calling her unborn
as once I called
my own. Pink with
 the oily ooze of
  salmon, her feathery
   flesh, and wild with
    desire for fresh water,
     I swim upstream,
      against the current,
       through rapids
        and estuaries,
         as after long
          I push for


Diane Lockward is the author of three poetry books, most recently Temptation by Water, and a craft book, The Crafty Poet (Wind Publications, 2013). Her poems have been published in Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner, and have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer's Almanac.


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>The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project Turns 50--with Emily Dickinson

>The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project at Lincoln Center, Friday, April 11th, 7-9 PM. Rhina Espaillat, Angela O'Donnell, Erica Dawson, Maryann Corbett, and others.

Author Erica Jong
Marion Ettlinger: I was raised in Queens, New York, the daughter of German-Jewish immigrants. I was educated at The High School of Music & Art and The Cooper Union, both in Manhattan. Shortly after graduation, I moved to Northern Vermont, where I lived for seventeen years. Although I have been practicing portraiture since the Sixties, it was in the early Eighties that I found my true vocation in photographing poets and writers, who as subjects remain compelling and irresistible to me still. Using only natural light and black and white film, I continue this work based in Manhattan.
32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

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