Thanksgiving Dinner


THANKSGIVING DINNER

1. Cold Fruit Chorus
Cousin brain surgeon
deftly sections a grapefruit,
gobbles down each bite.

2. No Soup for Il Duce
Bundled up, they race
home, surprising even their
abandoned shadows.

3. Her Exquisite Beef Loman
“I wouldʼve dumped him!”
she tells the wind (right after
Death of a Salesman).

4. Before It Was Pie
A prizewinning rose
swayed wildly in that grinning
field of smug pumpkins.

5. Finnish Courtesan
Blue winter pauses
against unspeakable odds
then shoves right on in.

–M. Salomon

Image: Trophy Wife Holiday Dinner by Kevin McShane.

Recommended Reading

Mark Kraushaar

The Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize:

James Fenton & Mark Kraushaar

Folger link

7.30pm Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Elizabethan Theatre, Folger Shakespeare Library

201 East Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20005

Tickets: $15

Introduction and conversation moderated by Joseph Harrison, poet and Waywiser Press Senior American Editor.

The Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, created in honor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, is awarded annually by Waywiser Press for a poetry collection by a poet who has published no more than one book. The winner receives $3,000 and his collection is published on both sides of the Atlantic. Mark Kraushaar is the 2010 recipient. He will be joined by this year’s judge, James Fenton.

Mark Kraushaar’s first collection, Falling Brick Kills Local Man, won the 2009 Felix Pollak Prize. He was the recipient of Poetry Northwest’s Richard Hugo Award and two Wisconsin Arts Board awards for poetry and has been a finalist for both the Walt Whitman Award and the May Swenson Prize. His poems are widely published and anthologized.

James Fenton has worked as a political journalist, drama critic, book reviewer, war correspondent, foreign correspondent, and columnist. A winner of England’s Newdigate Prize for poetry, he is the author of several volumes of poetry. His latest work is Selected Poems. He edited The New Faber Book of Love Poems and D. H. Lawrence’s Selected Poems. He was an Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1994 to 1999 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and recipient of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

Excerpt from Third Street Muscles and Fitness*

…and for a moment, for a discrete, small portion
of what I will one day refer to as the past,
there’s the five of us facing three
double-door sized panes
of rattling glass:
rain on the awnings, rain over the windows,
rain over the gutters and rain
in soft, sparkling ropes along the curbs,
and into the drains and under the ground.
Mark Kraushaar

*From The Uncertainty Principle © 2011 by Mark Kraushaar

Requiem–Bei Dao

REQUIEM
for Shanshan

The wave of that year
flooded the sands on the mirror
to be lost is a kind of leaving
and the meaning of leaving
the instant when all languages
are like shadows cast from the west

life’s only a promise
don’t grieve for it
before the garden was destroyed
we had too much time
debating the implications of a bird flying
as we knocked down midnight’s door

alone like a match polished into light
when childhood’s tunnel
led to a vein of dubious ore
to be lost is a kind of leaving
and poetry rectifying life
rectifies poetry’s echo

Bei Dao
Translated by Eliot Weinberger and Iona Man-Cheong

Requiem–John Updike

REQUIEM

It came to me the other day:
Were I to die, no one would say,
“Oh, what a shame! So young, so full
Of promise — depths unplumbable!”

Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes
Will greet my overdue demise;
The wide response will be, I know,
“I thought he died a while ago.”

For life’s a shabby subterfuge,
And death is real, and dark, and huge.
The shock of it will register
Nowhere but where it will occur.

John Updike

See also the discussion of Updike’s poem at the Immortal Muse blog.