THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY

THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY
April 12, 2016

Friday, March 12, 2010

Poetry Friday: A Chapbook!

Poetry Friday friends, I'm so excited to share my news with you!

My chapbook, Mountain, Log, Salt and Stone, has won the Clarinda Harriss Poetry Prize, sponsored by Baltimore's CityLit Project.

The book comes out for National Poetry Month. Here is the press release, which includes the ISBN.

The final judge was poet, physician and all-around Renaissance man Michael Salcman. After the contest was over, Michael generously helped me to fine tune my manuscript. I feel blessed to call him a mentor. What a gift!

Michael is a master of ekphrastic poetry. Today, I'm sharing one of his "Eight Eakins Portraits" -- "Portrait of Walt Whitman." It appears in Michael's book, The Clock Made of Confetti (which has a lovely series of ekphrastic poems).


PORTRAIT OF WALT WHITMAN (1887-1888)

You see me now as the fierce friend of my final years
saw me; though he painted me resting, I'm  not at rest
my brain whirls with continents. My eyes are open,
thought death is limned in me like sweet drunkenness
and my cheeks remain ruddy. Around my head
and lips the gray hairs billow like wisps of smoke
or a final breath. On my shoulder, a flat collar flares
a white epaulet -- none owned by Falstaff nor painted
by Hals was ever finer though I'm hardly a gay toper
like them. Sorely vexed when first we met, he wrote
"My honors are misunderstanding, persecution and neglect,
enhanced because unsought." I think he caught me dreaming
of his resignation and bitterness; I never liked this likeness
much (not that I told him).

Posted with permission of the poet.

Don't you love how Whitman's "brain whirls with continents"?

If you're in the Baltimore area, mark April 17 on your calendar. It's the CityLit Festival  -- a day long, free event -- at the Enoch Free Pratt Library.

There are readings by poets, novelists, children's author Patrick O'Brien, and spoken word performers. The full line-up is here. In the afternoon, Michael Salcman is hosting a reading with me and Maryland Poet Laureate Stanley Plumly.

I hope you can make it! I'll need a big cheering section to calm my nerves.

Have a wonderful Poetry Friday, everyone. Our host is Becky at Becky's Book Reviews. Enjoy!

8 comments:

jama said...

WOW! Congratulations, Laura! Fabulous news!!

Enjoyed the poem -- had never seen this painting of Whitman before.

Have fun at the reading! :)

jama said...

WOW! Congratulations, Laura! Fabulous news!!

Enjoyed the poem -- had never seen this painting of Whitman before.

Have fun at the reading! :)

Jeannine Atkins said...

Oh, what a wonderful post brimming with great news and poetry! Congratulations on the honor, Laura, and the wonderful opportunity it presented (Of course I'm talking about the opportunity to fine tune with Micahel Saleman, not the reading which I can so understand why it would throw you into mild panic. But I hope the nerves subside and you have a wonderful time in the wonderful moment. (sorry about all the wonderfulness here, but ... this is just great!

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Jama! The painting was new to me also. Isn't it gorgeous? Whitman's character is leaping off the canvas.

Laura said...

Congratulations! What an honor!

Laura Evans

Author Amok said...

Sorry the comments are messed up. Jeannine and Laura, thanks so much. I am very excited and Michael Salcman has been wonderful -- a true mentor. The whole CityLit Festival looks great. Looking forward to the day!

laurasalas said...

WOOT! Congratulations, Laura. What fantastic news! I still get very nervous about readings for adults (school visits with kids are fine). I have to say that being a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award gave me some new confidence about Stampede the past couple of months, and the two to-adults readings I've done haven't been as hard as before. I know it's the same book as before being a finalist, but that pat on the back and the fact that judges of something liked it a lot...that really helped my confidence. So...remember that your collection WON! So awesome. Enjoy every minute of the big day!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Laura. Thanks for the cheers! It is much harder speaking to adults when you're used to kids. Kids are an easier audience to read. Congrats on being an MBA finalist -- so excited for you!