Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Monday, June 26, 2017

Publication News: June Update

My typewriter

In addition to my double sonnet, "Into the Lives of Other Folk", recently published at North of Oxford, and two poems (including a Miltonic sonnet) in Mezzo Cammin, I'm happy to share the following:

  • Rhina P. Espaillat's review of my Richard Wilbur Award-winning collection, The Frangible Hour, will be published in an upcoming issue of the Alabama Literary Review. Thank you, Bill Thompson! 
  • James Matthew Wilson's review of The Frangible Hour will appear in an upcoming issue of The Weekly Standard as well as in an essay in Catholic World Report, which is where he is publishing his essays on Catholic poets -- all of which will eventually be gathered into a very large book (perhaps two volumes) within the next five years. Thank you, James!
  • Two more reviews of The Frangible Hour, one published in Presence, the other in Think, are now on my blog pages on the left side of the home page.
  • Light Poetry Magazine has accepted my leona rima (9 lines of iambic tetrameter
    a, a, b, b, c, c, c, b, a ), "There are always more fish in the sea . . ." for an upcoming issue. Thank you, Melissa and team!
  • Think (Western Colorado State University) will be publishing my villanelle, "Multiverse", in their spring/summer 2017 issue on the theme of poetry and philosophy. Thank you, Susan Spear!
  • The Rotary Dial has accepted my sonnet, "Summer of 1970" for a future issue. Thank you, Alexandra and Pino!
  • Measure has accepted several poems for upcoming editions, "Anthracite" and "We" (a sonnenizio). Thank you, Rob and Paul!
  •  I've just signed the official papers for the inclusion of my poem, "Edward Hopper's Automat" in an anthology to be published in Canada next year. Thank you, Susie!
  • I have written a lengthy review of Timothy Murphy's Hunter's Log, Volume Two and Volume Three. Awaiting a reply on publication.
  • Quadrant  poetry editor, Les Murray, has written me a nice letter, and accepting my "Scintillae" for an upcoming issue. Thanks, Les!
  • Three poems have been accepted for the December issue of The Orchards Poetry Journal: "The Watchers at Punta Ballena, Uruguay", "Prayer on December 26", and "Spirit". Thank you, Carol Lynn and Karen!
  • Three of my poems will appear in the National Poetry Registry of Canada, Library of Parliament anthology of Canadian poets. Those poems are "Superbia", "Full Snow Moon", and "The Lost Villages: Inundation Day".  Thanks to Canada's Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke!
Feeling blessed!

Monday, June 12, 2017


Five years ago today, the most beautiful and strongest person I know, my daughter Caitlin, began a long and ultimately successful journey back to health after suffering a cerebral aneurysm. Love you, my sunshine! ♥ And thank you again to Dr. Michel Bojanowski and his team at the Centre hospitalier de l' Université de Montréal, Hôpital Notre-Dame.

Below is my poem, "Almost", dedicated to Caitlin.

— for Caitlin

i.          Silverweed

Silverweed, also known as cinquefoil, is the symbol of maternal protection of a beloved daughter, as the leaves will bend over the flower when it rains—  Natural History Museum, Cable, Wisconsin

Telephones that ring at three a.m.
mean bad news,
yet you must answer them.
You lose
your voice, then find a stratagem,
your shoes,

your cell, your cool, your car keys, certitude.
You must believe.
You mustn’t come unglued.
Don’t leave
the rosary beads behind. Saint Anne! Saint Jude!
You weave

along the boulevards at blinding speed,
and though you make
a deal with God, you need
to shake
that weighty metaphor for silverweed.
Or break.

ii.         The Vigil

You’re in a coma in Intensive Care.
A portion of your skull has been removed.
A feeding tube delivers sustenance.
A ventilator tube delivers air.
I sit beside you on a folding chair.

A monitor with multicolored lines
deciphers whether you will make it through
as medications drip into your veins.
A path of staples holds your scalp in place.
I’m thankful that you cannot see my face.

June. July. My fourth novena starts.
In counting off the decades on your hands,
I meditate on Joyful number five:
to find my child as Mary found her son—
alive and well. And when this vigil’s done,

and you are home again—as you must be—
when grace drives out the shadows, you will tell
of how you sensed the doctors come and go,
and heard You Are My Sunshine in your sleep,
and somehow knew your mother would not weep.

iii.        Off-the-wall

It’s late. Soon I will yank them off the wall―
these posters urging one to think about
the selfless act of signing off on heart,
on corneas, kidneys, liver, lungs and skin.
My satisfaction will be pure, perverse.

At 2 a.m., with no one in the hall,
not caring if they ever find me out,
I exercise my right to fall apart,
ask God’s forgiveness for this venial sin,
and jam the jagged pieces in my purse.

It’s far too early yet to know if she’s
to live or die; and I shall not assume.
The day shift nurses and the orderlies
arrive as grace notes trim the waiting room.

iv.                Pena negra

Los caballos negros son. – Federico García Lorca,
from “Romance de la Guardia Civil Española”

I will not mince my words and call it brown,
as in brown study. No insipid blues.
I will not misinform with pastel hues
or undertones for adjective and noun.
The world is saturated monochrome.
Beyond the window, trees (I guess) are green
and sunsets golden as they’ve always been
before this hospital became my home.

My pen suspends above a livid page―
an invitation to incarnadine
its surface with resentment, ravings, rage.
But red won’t do. The words that span this line
that runs between the points of hell and back
can only be conveyed in shades of black.

v.                  Afterwords

I gather up the get-well cards and flowers
and dress her in her street clothes, socks and shoes,
then wheel her out into the summer air.
She is alive. Alive against all odds.

I’ve chronicled her unaccounted hours,
for days are things one can’t afford to lose:
the words tell how, with nothing left but prayer,
I trusted in a surgeon’s hands. And God’s.

The little notebook, thorough, stark, exact,
recounts procedures, numbers on a chart;
and since the point-by-point is based on fact,
she’ll never read of daggers to the heart
or how—amid disaster—the mundane
and blessed act of writing kept me sane.

(Hôpital Notre-Dame, Montreal, June, July, August, 2012)