Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday's Extraordinary Poet: Grace Cavalieri

I can't recall how I discovered the amazing Ms. Cavalieri, but I was half-assed cleaning my office desk last night in a futile attempt to get organized and I found a crumpled, worn copy of her poem, "The Protest" that I had printed out to read and re-read. I read it through yet again and remembered how profoundly it affected me, having grown up surrounded by alcoholics---then I related the first poem to the many wasted years of painful 'not creating' that I went through when someone cruelly dissed my poetry. That's what I love about poetry. It feeds your heart just the way YOU need it to. I'm feeling blah today but thought this poem wanted to be here, so here it is along with a sister-poem by this profoundly talented poet.

Blessings from Marion on this cloudy, dreary, warm day in swampy Louisiana.......

"Grace Cavalieri, born in 1932, is the author of 14 books of poetry and 20 staged plays. She's produced "The Poet and the Poem" on public radio, which entered its 30th year in 2007, now from the Library of Congress. Grace holds the Allen Ginsberg Award for Poetry, the Pen Fiction Award for story, and the CPB Silver Medal for Broadcasting."


By Grace Cavalieri

Take the edge of the past,
not the whole
just the edge,
the way the art teacher
said You Blink Too Much,
the way the English teacher said
Your Father Must Have Written This-
It's Too Good . . .
This must be why
God started talking to me
in my own voice with
thoughts of
consequence and
ideas I never knew,
in my own voice,
even though I thought
a better one surely
should be found,
and certainly could be found-
It sounded at first
like a fiery sun
and a silk moon
spinning through me,
in tongues
and languages
I finally understood
but fast- so fast-
by the time I got the pen
it was gone.



By Grace Cavalieri

I was supposed to make a five minute speech
so l took a tranquilizer
but the speech was cancelled,

I was to give another speech but
this too was cancelled,

As you can imagine, I stayed
tranquilized my whole life without speaking,

When the fire and blood came up
in thin spouts through
the kitchen floor
I called the manager
but it is never his fault
if we are speechless and in exile,

He said the problem in the floor
comes from being too emotional,

I had another chance to speak once
but the mashed potatoes lay thick
on my tongue and my indignation
sounded less than noble,

All the audience learned that night
is how anger sounds
through mashed potatoes,

"The physical is spiritual"
I said hotly, but
other people's impressions
had already brushed off on me,

By the time the audience left
I was a widow in a nightgown
and I had not told what
I'd come here to say.


Grace Cavalieri's Poetry:

Anna Nicole : poems (CreateSpace, 2008).

Bliss (H. Roberts Publishing, 1986).

Body fluids (Bunny and the Crocodile Press, 1976).

Cuffed frays and other works (Argonne Press, 2001).

Greatest hits, 1975-2000 (Pudding House Press, 2002).

Heart on a leash (Red Dragon Press, 1998).

Migrations : poems with Mary Ellen Long (Book Distribution, In Support, 1995).

Pinecrest rest haven (Word Works, 1998).

Sit down, says love (Argonne Hotel Press, 1999).

Stealthy days (with Robert Sargent and Grace Cavalieri) (Forest Woods Media, 1998).

Swan research (Word Works, 1979).

Trenton (Belle Mead Press, 1990).

Water on the sun: Acqua sul sole (translated by Maria Enrico) (Bordighera, Inc., 2006).

What I would do for love (Jacaranda Press, 2004.

Why I cannot take a lover (Washington Writers Publishing House, 1975).


Kelly said...

I really like that first poem, Marion!

Sorry you're feeling blah today. I'm waiting for the rain to get here... maybe the worst of the storms will miss us.

How's your mom? Back to her usual spunky self??

Anonymous said...

I am liking this Womans words and I am wanting to read more of her, so thanks you for introducing her.

BTW You are amazingly kind!

Renee said...

The protest poem is so true for so many people.

Just never feeling like they can say what they need to.

I love it Marion.


quid said...

An interesting poet, using mashed potatoes in imagery!... hope your mom is feeling better.