A longtime resident of Rhode Island, Catherine Imbriglio received an MA in creative writing in 1988 and a PhD in English and American literature in 1995 from Brown University. Her collection of poems Parts of the Mass (2007) won the 2008 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. A second volume, Intimacy (Center for Literary Publishing, 2013), was awarded the Colorado Prize for Poetry. Her poems have been published in The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (2004) as well as the journals Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, and American Letters & Commentary.
[It would be neat if with the New Year]
It would be neat if with the New Year
I could leave my loneliness behind with the old year.
My leathery loneliness an old pair of work boots
my dog vigorously head-shakes back and forth in its jaws,
chews on for hours every day in my front yard—
rain, sun, snow, or wind
in bare feet, pondering my poem,
I’d look out my window and see that dirty pair of boots in the yard.
But my happiness depends so much on wearing those boots.
At the end of my day
while I’m in a chair listening to a Mexican corrido
I stare at my boots appreciating:
all the wrong roads we’ve taken, all the drug and whiskey houses
we’ve visited, and as the Mexican singer wails his pain,
I smile at my boots, understanding every note in his voice,
and strangers, when they see my boots rocking back and forth on my
keeping beat to the song, see how
my boots are scuffed, tooth-marked, worn-soled.
I keep wearing them because they fit so good
and I need them, especially when I love so hard,
where I go up those boulder strewn trails,
where flowers crack rocks in their defiant love for the light.
Free Writing prompt:
All the roads taken.
Breaking [News] – Noor Hindi (Poem)
Forsaken Sea – Sekou Sundiata (Song)
The Death of Fred Clifton – Lucille Clifton (Poem)
My Beshert, or the Curse of the Stolen Potatoes – Joy Cutler (Play Excerpt)
Another Night at Sea Level – Meg Day (Poem)
Storming Toward a Precipice – Simon J. Ortiz (Poem)
Instructions on Not Giving Up – Ada Limón (Poem)
13 Suits: A Mother’s Monologues – Kathleen Duff (Play Excerpt)
The Two Fridas – Frida Kahlo (Painting)
Pedestrian Crossing, Charlottesville – Rita Dove (Poem)
In Trust – Thom Gunn (Poem)
Investigation of Poverty at the Russell Sage Foundation – Alice Neel (Painting)
My Neighbors – Ignacio Iturria (Painting)
Angel From Montgomery – John Prine, Bonnie Raitt (Song)
The Dog Star – Tom Billsborough (Poem)
From “Naked City” – Weegee (Photos)
The Painting After Lunch – Clarence Major (Poem)
Beasts – Amanda Jernigan (Poem)
The Pardon – Richard Wilbur (Poem)
Late Summer After a Panic Attack – Ada Limón (Poem)
“Untitled” – Gregory Crewdson (Photos)
A Eulogy – Tania De Rozario (Poem)
Deer Dance Exhibition – Ofelia Zepeda (Poem)
The Buck in the Snow – Edna St Vincent Millay (Poem)
The Buck in the Snow by Edna St. Vincent Millay
White sky, over the hemlocks bowed with snow,
Saw you not at the beginning of evening the antlered buck and his doe
Standing in the apple-orchard? I saw them. I saw them suddenly go,
Tails up, with long leaps lovely and slow,
Over the stone-wall into the wood of hemlocks bowed with snow.
Now lies he here, his wild blood scalding the snow.
How strange a thing is death, bringing to his knees, bringing to his antlers
The buck in the snow.
How strange a thing,—a mile away by now, it may be,
Under the heavy hemlocks that as the moments pass
Shift their loads a little, letting fall a feather of snow—
Life, looking out attentive from the eyes of the doe.
Reflective writing prompt: “How strange a thing…”
Question: Can you tell us about what he is wearing?
Well, the hooves represent the deer’s hooves,
the red scarf represents the flowers from which he ate,
the shawl is for skin.
The cocoons make the sound of the deer walking on leaves and grass.
Question: What is that he is beating on?
It’s a gourd drum. The drum represents the heartbeat of the deer.
When the drum beats, it brings the deer to life.
We believe the water the drum sits in is holy. It is life.
Go ahead, touch it.
Bless yourself with it.
It is holy. You are safe now.
Question: How does the boy become a dancer?
He just knows. His mother said he had dreams when he was just a little boy.
You know how that happens. He just had it in him.
Then he started working with older men who taught him how to dance.
He has made many sacrifices for his dancing even for just a young boy.
The people concur, “Yes, you can see it in his face.”
Question: What do they do with the money we throw them?
Oh, they just split it among the singers and dancer.
They will probably take the boy to McDonald’s for a burger and fries.
The men will probably have a cold one.
It’s hot today, you know.
Reflective writing Prompt: Write about an exhibition
A Eulogy – Tania De Rosario
for everyone poked so full
of holes, their own voice passes
through them, history escaping
the body in a series of echoes.
for everyone distilled into colour
of skin, choice of pronoun, place
of origin, length of hair, years, skirt,
name, limbs, medical record.
for everyone made to believe
that the petals of persecution
have blossomed from the buds
of their own paranoia.
for everyone passed over in favour
of a name that seemed easier to pronounce,
was less of an assault
to someone else’s comfort.
for everyone accused of prolonged
adolescence, scars on their arms
marking time like a calendar, body
taking itself into its own hands.
for everyone blamed
for the stare, grope, catcall, assault
that cut like glass into flesh as if
they had asked to be broken.
for everyone deceived
into dreaming, everyone who left home
and family to provide home
and family, returning with nothing.
for everyone pumped
so full of doctrine, the guilt which ate
into their bones, made them believe
breaking them was the only way out.
Reflective writing prompt: for everyone…
Reflective writing prompt: In the middle of the night…
Late Summer after a Panic Attack
BEASTS by Amanda Jernigan
In my kind world the dead were out of range
And I could not forgive the sad or strange
In beast or man.
– Richard Wilbur
Her told me of the Cape Town walkup where
he lived till he was eight; the years were spent there,
he claims, his best,
although he’s range his wooden beasts, some nights,
along the windowsill to watch the fights
outside. At last,
presumably, his folks were reconciled
to moving – this no place to raise a child –
and made to flee.
The family came to Canada, where not
much happens for a lion or an ocelot
or boy to see.
Where I grew up, and entertained myself
with fairy tales from which I’d struck the wolf.
Though now, I found,
I summon wolf and lion, woman, Lord
knows what, and bid that wooden horde
to laager round.