Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Monday, March 19, 2012

Orange jurisdiction

Pumpkin picking, 2008

From Len Krisak's review of Lines of Flight in First Things (April, 2012):

Catherine Chandler, a deft hand at ballades, pantoums, villanelles, even sapphics, and an uncanny adept at the sonnet (she is the winner of the 2011 [sic] Nemerov Award) is a poet whose expert attention appears to apply itself to just about everything on the poetic scale from giant themes to minute structural niceties.

Take, for example, her treatment of nature. Unless a poet is willing to reach for a metaphor of startling brilliance, it is a notoriously difficult subject. Yet in "Caesura," she manages something memorable. Fall becomes the time

where maples, marigolds and pumpkins vie
for orange jurisdiction

Gutsy, not hysterical or outré, like so many postmodern tropes.

Here is the poem in its entirety:


Between the last triumphant note of fall,
when maples, marigolds and pumpkins vie
for orange jurisdiction, and the rime-
embellished month of Christmas, there he is,

November, stark, severe, demanding all
imagination can afford: a lie
might do the trick; an epic, if there's time.
Anything to fill that void of his.

(from Lines of Flight, page 27)

And the poem really isn't about fall, either !

Note on the Nemerov Award referred to in the review: I won the 2010 award, but it was published in Measure in 2011.

More from the review later . . .

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