Thursday, August 22, 2013

Poet Marie Howe in Albany September 17

For Albany readers: Here is an upcoming event that you should not miss. Marie Howe, poet, teacher, family caregiver and Poet Laureate of New York State, will be reading on Tuesday September 17th at The New York State Museum in downtown Albany. The reading begins at 8pm.

Marie is one of the most accessible poets—her language is direct and powerful. And she is a wonderful performer.

Mark your calendar. Invite a friend.

My favorite collection of Howe’s  poetry is called, “What the Living Do”. Here is the poem that gives its title to that book:

by Marie Howe

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won't work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven't called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It's winter again: the sky's a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat's on too high in here and I can't turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,

I've been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss--we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I'm gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I'm speechless:
I am living. I remember you.

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