Featured Poet: Ewa Chrusciel, New London, NH
Ewa Chrusciel writes both in Polish and English. In 2003 Studium published her first book in Polish. Her second book in Polish: Sopilki came out in Dec 2009. She has won the 2009 international book contest for her book in English, Strata, which will be published with Emergency Press in Jan, 2011 in the United States. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals such as Fraza, Odra, Zeszyty literackie, Studium, Nowa Okolica Poetow in Poland; Poetry Wales, Aesthetica and Rzeczpospospolita Kulturalna in England; Il Giornale in Italy. Her poetry was also featured in Boston Review (poet’s sampler), Colorado Review, Aufgabe, Process, Lana Turner, hot metal bridge, Mandorla, Canary, Rhino, American Letters and Commentary, Spoon River, Omnidawn poetry blog, etc. Her translations of poetry appeared innumerous journals and two anthologies of Polish poetry in English translations: Carnivorous Boy, Carnivorous Bird and Six Polish Poets. She is a Professor of Humanities at Colby-Sawyer College.
The poem, Na no la, is an accretion of various lines and themes from my forthcoming (Jan 2011) book Strata. Na no la is a haunted poem. It is inhabited by the lines and images that emerge and expand throughout my book. They perch on a log and pound. They form a drumming station. They become a ruffed grouse. Pounding its wings until the forest hears; until the logs spark into lumen.
By embracing both mourning and abundance, this poem also alludes to the title of my book Strata which signifies "loss" in Polish and "accretion" in English. Strata investigates the issues of bilingualism; the ceaseless border crossing, smuggling of metaphors; inhabiting two places at once. It claims that poetry dwells in impossibility and bewilderment. It expresses longing for bilocation. It recognizes the insufficiency of one language; the human desire and inability to express the ineffable. Na no la distills and condenses these overarching themes.
na no la
They thistle in us. They speck in the morning. They tingle. Sorrelic apparitions. There is a tigress
mother wanting to trim your hair. They come to us. Do you hear them? Some as heavy footsteps.
Others – miniscule kisses. Thin as grass. Rising and swaying parasols. They come with swinging
hips. They come as minnows. They try to get where they belong. They come in wrinkles. They
come as a host of molecules. They come as hard-faced dybbuks. They swarm into this lighthouse.
They have fancy hats. With forget-me-nots. They pebble across the floor. They fall from marigold
trees and lie crucified on the road. Get up and sing. They pinch like too much love. They trespass.
They arrive at a wailing wall. They dot. We are burying them every day. We are burying them
in staccato rhythm. They rise and accrete. They beat electric letters in the air. They hop always
to a higher branch. They come invincible. They come to torture. They come to soothe. They come
for romance. They flip and tremble tiny farewells. They come as mustards seeds. Do you see them
in a mulberry tree? They slide down the needles. They come as growth on wolf trees, the dead
winking. They air the air. They come to forgive. They ask for forgiveness. They come as hyphae.
They come as hostages. They come as clogged streets. They come in slow trains. They come
as silver jaguars. Burning bushes, doves, manna, the blood of horses’ necks. They come as purgatory
souls. They chip off the wall. In loops and whorls. They want to rent one line. They want to break-
down. They re-colonize. They come to insulate us with snow. They come in giggles. They come in
almonds. They come to eye us, inside our panther skins. We bury them. They come in black chadors.
They rap on our door with churned up grains, tides, whispers. They come as drafts of juniper. They
spread on the floor as a cross. They are relics of grief and light. They perch on branches like monk
hedgehogs. They come as juncos. They come in lekking crowds. They come in high-strung beads
and scatter into our vessels. They come in volcanic lavish. They come as noble Odysseuses.
They hover as hummingbirds, calculating their rates of return. We bury them. They air the air.
They are ubiquitous as Tartar cheeks. They bilocate. They come as yellow secrets.
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