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Poetry Friday -- Carrie Fountain
Rush
liz_scanlon
If I were to try to categorize the poems I love, I'd say that my favorites are about how we live, in spite of it all. How we wake up; how we push through and feel love, joy and gratitude; how we struggle to stay here -- breathing, and in it.

I mean, I have nothing against poetry about hummingbirds or politics or Grecian urns, but the ones that hit me in the center of my breast bone, the ones that leave me aching and relieved at the same time, are the ones that lay out that fundamental dance between living and dying, struggle and desire, pain and pleasure.

My friend Carrie Fountain writes a lot of those, even when they're not overtly so. They are historical revelation or contemporary narrative, snapshot or reflection, but almost always with those biggest of curiosities underneath the stories, holding the words on the page.

Carrie's new book, Burn Lake, was a winner of this year's National Poetry Prize and it's no wonder. There is so much there -- truth and humor and fight and surrender -- to take comfort in, even as we're put on uncomfortable edges. I read the whole thing fast and furiously, like a beach book, a potboiler, and then went back to take it in more carefully. And not for the last time, either. I'm keeping it on my bedside table.

I would really like for you to have and to read this book.
In the meantime, though, here's a little taste:

(Please note: It's called Burn Lake 2 here, but in the book it's Burn Lake 3)


Burn Lake 2
by Carrie Fountain


We found a duck, a mallard, dead
on the shore, head split, eyes loose,

yet when someone poked it with a stick
it shuddered suddenly 

and stood up, then collapsed again
and died for real, which to me

explained a lot.

For a while I'd had a vague idea
I could kill myself by holding my breath.

Yet when I locked myself in my room
and tried it, I fainted, fell face-first

into the closet, and came to in a panic,
thinking for a moment that

I'd done it...



(Read the rest here...)

(And on an only slightly off-topic tangent, Carrie's recently become a new mum, which makes that "pressing harder into life" ever keener. Wishing some docile days to them as they wake up to this new world...)

 

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The types of poems you describe -- the ones that reflect on how we live, or how we push through -- are my favorites, too. This one by Carrie definitely has a "wow" factor to it, for me. I could see myself reading her work fast and furiously, too.

Have a great weekend! Enjoy this time to yourself and with your husband.

I highly recommend her book!

tanita says :)

(Anonymous)
Have mercy, Lord. This one -- just rocked me back on my heels.

Desperate, scrabbling animal of the self, desperate to live, some days willing itself to die.

Man, she has a way with words. Thank you for sharing this.

I know, right???

That's pretty much what I thought.

I love your poem I was once feeling this way after my son was born..this was touching

Isn't it beautiful to have your experience echoed that way?

goodness...

(Anonymous)
incredible.

Yep, that's what I thought...

(Deleted comment)
Oh, now THAT'S a good idea...
Maybe that will help me with a certain Terza Rima!

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