blackbirdonline journalSpring 2011  Vol. 10  No. 1
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Words No Longer There
Sequence Introduction

When I wrote this sequence of poems, I was particularly interested in fragments—the tangible remains of what was once a “whole” sequence. I realized on a visceral level that almost everything I remember, including what I remember from poems or novels I’ve read, remains with me in pieces.

I wrote a draft of “the one with violets in her lap” in response to a prompt. Asking myself to imagine words that are no longer there (looking at the absences) in fragment 21 caused me to think about experience as a collage of fragmentary impressions from various points in time and from different perspectives, glued together more by what someone imagines has happened than by in-fact happenings.

From that perspective, certain Sappho fragments seemed to demand response: coloring in the absences. The remaining poems in the sequence try to get at an intangible quality about romantic love that I was trying to express in the first poem. I attempted to access that feeling by writing directly to a beloved, writing from the viewpoint of that intangible quality, and writing to the absence about my frustration at being unable to fully and precisely express that quality in words.  end

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