Featured Poet: Donald Wellman, Weare
Donald Wellman, poet, essayist, and editor, is a native of Nashua. He is the father of two children, Tadhgh and Rose. A new book of poetry Prolog Pages has been published by Ahadada (Tokyo and Toronto, 2009). Other books include Baroque Threads (Mudlark 2007) and Fields (Light and Dust 1995). From 1981-1994, he edited the O.ARS series of anthologies, devoted to topics bearing on postmodern poetics, including volumes entitled Coherence and Translations: Experiments in Reading. He has translated the poetry of Emilio Prados, Antonio Gamoneda and Yvan Goll, among others. He teaches writing and cultural studies at Daniel Webster College.
Poet’s statement: “On an evening” is from a poetry notebook entitled Diario mexicano (or Mexican daily with a pun on diary). An anthropologist of daily life, I have compiled several such notebooks. Diario mexicano is one of the three elements or sequences in the volume Prolog Pages, and the fact of belonging to a form of serial composition is important to the integrity of the text. It was written, it seems, upon return to New Hampshire after a stay in Mexico and reflects on the trip, sorting through things that in my imagination stand for ideas. For me, the writing of poetry involves the recognition of patterns, and that is what drove me to break the lines as I have and to conclude this poem as I have. One subject in the collection, Diario mexicano, is apocalyptic destruction, a theme that is very present in the words of “On an evening.” There had been the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Mayan calendar predicts that our year 2012 is to be the end of time, a great tempest will erase the face of the sun. Isn’t the idea of the sun and creation to be found on the face of one of those plates? My themes are destruction and the survival of children It is that later emotion that drives my poetry.
On an evening
in New Hampshire, I slice citrus. Fresh juice has become a fetish,
sipped from a wine glass. My mornings are too hurried,
now that I am teaching.
I set the table with tangerine and lemon yellow china
made incidentally in Mexico.
The pattern is pleasing. I find patterns
among elements tossed together, verbal ensaladas
A sketch of a possible score in several parts: birds that share my thoughts,
dolls and pottery
glazed with a perfect azure, Puebla talavera..
The song is an intimation of an end,
how a world that cannot not be sustained will find itself overturned
in a human tumult. Learn now
to appreciate a simple transition, a fortunate interim
in which to meditate upon dishes and beverages.
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