Wednesday, October 2, 2013

3 Poems of Recovery by Carol Dine


From his VA hospital bed,
the man motions to the corridor;
his jaw is crooked, wide open
like the entrance to a cave.

In the doorway the boy,
saluting his father,
imagines the white blanket
as new snow. In the yard,

they are making a snowman:
from his father’s pocket,
a piece of coal for the nose,
for the mouth,
the boy sneaks a strand
of Mother’s red yarn.

after Andrzej Jackowski

i. A man sleeps
on a wooden plank
under a clump of date palms,
its leaves covering him
like a mother’s arms.

ii. He dreams
of rocket fire,
a river
of black oil
rising through the floor
under a single bed,
what was left
of his house.

On the sun-orange blanket,
bouquets of dried flowers,
wife daughter son


I lost a black fleece glove,
soft, sturdy
under the back seat
on the sidewalk
on the classroom floor
better to have one glove…

I put its mate
in my lingerie drawer
beside the black satin
a woman sold to me,

Poems published by permission of the poet.

Interview with Carol Dine

Tell us about these poems.

The poems "Reconstruction" and "Refugee" are from my manuscript in progress, entitled Sutures: Poems of Art and War. In it, I comment on specific war images, including those by Holocaust survivor, Samuel Bak, Polish exile, Andrzej Jackowski, and British war sculptor, Michael Sandle. In these cases, my poems accompany the images. There are also sections (without images) on women as both victims and survivors of war, and art that was looted by the Nazis, never to be recovered. The manuscript is under review by publishers in the U.K.

The poem "Glove" reflects my fourth bout with breast cancer, which I have survived. Thank GOD.

Who are your favorite poets or poets new to you whom you'd recommend to others?

I’m inspired by and recommend the work of David Ferry, Carol Ann Duffy, John F. Deane, and Genine Lentine.

What are you working on now?
My next book, Orange Night, a collaboration with acclaimed artist and Holocaust survivor, Samuel Bak, will be published in April, 2014 by Pucker Art Publications and distributed by Syracuse University Press. In Orange Night, I present a dialogue on the subject of the Holocaust. I hope that the cumulative effect of Bak’s paintings and drawings and my poetic commentary transcend the artists’ individual powers and create for the reader an intimate confrontation with history.

The book of twenty-four images and accompanying poems is divided into four sections. In the first section "Orange Night", I want the reader to relive the artist’s memories of the sundered Vilna Ghetto (Lithuania), where his drawings were first displayed when he was nine years old, and from which he escaped with his mother. The second section, “Artist,” portrays the necessity of the arts for survival, redemption. In “Adonai,” I explore the question of God’s absence. In “Afterward,” I attempt to interpret the aftermath of war from the distance of time. In this final section, the reader faces a broken landscape which the artist has been, in my viewview, “cleansed with orange light.”

The book will be an important addition to studies of the Holocaust and WWII, in addition to Art History, Linguistics and Poetry. Bak’s images were be provided by Boston’s Pucker Gallery. Gallery Director, Bernard H. Pucker, enthusiastically supports this book which he calls “extraordinary.”

In addition to Orange Night, I am now working on poems for a collection entitled Resistance, persona poems on women who have resisted war, terror and abuse.

Carol Dine read from her book Van Gogh in Poems (Bitter Oleander Press, 2009) in Amsterdam at the Van Gogh Museum, and in London at the Royal Academy. In 2011, she was awarded a grant from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial fund for her manuscript Sutures: Poems on Art and War. She teaches writing at MassArt & Design, Boston, where she will give the Marjorie Hellerstein Memorial Lecture in April, 2012.

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