Featured Poet: James Rioux, Exeter
Born in Nashua, NH, James Rioux studied poetry at the University of New Hampshire and Georgia State University, where he received the Gerard Manley Hopkins Award. His work has appeared in a variety of publications including Five Points, Agenda, The North American Review, The Cafe Review, Ars Interpres, and Prairie Schooner. His first book, Fistfuls of the Invisible, was published by Penhallow Press. He currently teaches writing at the University of New Hampshire.
Of his featured poem, Jim writes: "Genre" was born like most poems out of tension. In this case, I was struggling with some unfinished writing projects and my body needed these words to articulate a set of complex feelings concerning language and personal motivation.
Novels abandoned…The physical strain
of characters living in muscles, plots
tangled in nerves behind the eyes for months,
whole years perhaps sleepless, waking dreams
smothering what each day may hold. And so
only chapters, paragraphs, sentences, words
bound in sound-clusters, rhythm worn smooth
from rubbing, words become lives themselves, lives
not much like our own but recognizable—
endings far too often violent, abrupt.
And though they suffer our bodies but briefly,
many take to healing and miracles.
For them, there is no marriage, no home.
They raise no children. They raise the dead.
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