Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shelley Puhak


Shelley Puhak and I studied together for a summer in Italy. She was working on her MFA from the University of New Orleans and I was working on my MA. Although, we've lost touch as the years have gone by, she kept me kind of sane while I was there, and I have a great respect for her talent. So, I was very pleased to see that she's gotten a book of poems published-- some of which we discussed in our creative writing workshop. Stalin in Aruba is being well-received and can be purchased through Black Lawrence Press or Shelley's website: http://www.shelleypuhak.com/. I have not received my own copy yet, but from what I gather and remember, many of these poems are dramatic monologues based (loosely?) on Russian history. I am including here a poem from the book which was first published in the Adirondack Review.
Support emerging poets, and buy the book!
WHAT THEY LEFT OUT OF MY OBITUARY
What They Left Out of My Obituary:
Father Pritikin, Dead at 85
You've heard of me: when I was seventeen
I threw the perfect pass, seventy yards,
breaking the school record. Those present said
the pigskin arched into the sun, but I
saw nothing, only that same sun spinning spots
while my breath's smoke pawed the cold.
You wouldn't have heard I spent my twenty-first
in a Guatemalan hut, shivering with heat,
brown-skinned women crowding me, muttering padre,
padre, and forcing me to drink hot tea.
Or that at seven, I found my mother's razor
in the bathtub nook and slipped my thumb across
the blade. As blood spilled forth I knew
nothing but dead leaves crisping underfoot.
When I was conceived, it was winter. That spring
the snow never melted, just crusted into ice.
My mother toe-heeled, toe-heeled as belly swelled,
or did she run, hoping to slip, to jar me loose?
At fourteen, I found freckles, light and flat,
across the clavicle of a girl on the field
hockey team, constellations spilling across bare
shoulders while the trees pulsed green.




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2 Comments:

At November 11, 2009 at 7:02 AM , Blogger nharris said...

She's good. I like the obituary one. I am assuming that these are 2 different poems. There is no space between them so I was a tad confused at first but I'm one smart cookie and figured it out. I think...

 
At November 11, 2009 at 7:26 AM , Anonymous Katie Kidder said...

oops. yes I meant to only post the obituary one, but I guess I grabbed both and didn't notice. I just recieved the book yesterday. She's the real deal for sure.

 

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