Poem in Oregon Literary Review Online

I actually received word from a fellow student (thanks, Ron) that Oregon Literary Review published this poem on their website. Beyond the main subject of the poem, which is the loss of our infant son, the poem has a lot of creative history for me, some of which I plan to discuss during my graduate reading at the upcoming MFA residency.

I wrote and re-wrote this poem through half a dozen forms (and non-forms), finally arriving at terza rima as the medium for sustaining and combining so many different thoughts, experiences, and feelings. First drafts began when I was in London, visiting the house of John Keats in hopes of absorbing greater negative capability, and reading a lot of Robert Hass to keep out of the rain. I wanted to encompass so many thoughts and feelings all at once, as Hass often does in his gentle way, but had not yet found the means to do so.

It was David St. John‘s magnificent sequence “To Pasolini” (from Study for the World’s Body), however, that renewed my belief in the terza rima form, and then a succession of old favorites, from Seamus Heaney to Dante himself, whose work further encouraged me to explore what freedoms I might find within the form’s constraints. In the end, it is a poem about many things, grief being, hopefully, an aperture in this poem, even as it has become one in my life.