Poem of the Week: “We Change the Map” by Kerry Hardie

Our apologies for the brief hiatus on our blog. We’ve been busy sending off four of our interns who graduated last week. A big thank you to all our interns for the hours of proofing, box schlepping, blogging, designing, phone calling, reading, chalking, and merriment you so kindly gave to WFU Press this year.

A fond farewell and congrats to our graduating interns

A fond farewell and congrats to our graduating interns

Post-graduation, we tend to think about what’s coming next — “Paths and small roads and the next bend.” Kerry Hardie’s “We Change the Map” seemed right for the occasion.

We Change the Map

This new map, unrolled, smoothed,
seems innocent as the one we have discarded,
impersonal as the clocks in rows
along the upper border, showing time-zones.

The colours are pale and clear, the contours
crisp, decisive, keeping order.
The new names, lettered firmly, lie quite still
within the boundaries that the wars spill over.

It is the times.

I have always been one for paths myself.
The mole’s view. Paths and small roads and the next bend.
Arched trees tunnelling to a coin of light.
No overview, no sense of what lies where.

Pinning up maps now, pinning my attention,
I cannot hold whole countries in my mind,
nor recognise their borders.

These days I want to trace
the shape of every townland in this valley;
name families; count trees, walls, cattle, gable-ends,
smoke-soft and tender in the near blue distance.

-Kerry Hardie, from The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry (2011)

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Introducing: Goat’s Milk by Frank Ormsby

FOR WEB - Front Cover no spine - Goat's Milk copyThe newest collection by Frank Ormsby is here, and it marks the first time his work has been published in North America. Goat’s Milk is a beautiful, heartbreaking exploration of the intersection between the Troubles of Northern Irish history, and a more personal, familial history. The collection’s profound emotional impact is heightened by the tone of nostalgia that pervades the work, one that looks back on the greater, collective past through the lens of an unrivaled poetic sensibility.

In his introduction, Michael Longley states, “Frank Ormsby belongs to that extraordinary generation of Northern Irish poets which includes Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon and Tom Paulin. He is a poet of the truest measure.”

In “Helen,” Ormsby brings to life the poetic marriage between the national war and a more personal moment.

Helen

(b. 12 August 1994)

The war will soon be over, or so they say.
Five floors below the Friday rush-hour starts.
You’re out and breathing. We smile to hear you cry.
Your long fingers curl around our hearts.

The place knows nothing of you and is home.
Indifferent skies look on while August warms
the middle air. We wrap you in your name.
Peace is the way you settle in our arms.

Frank Ormsby, Goat’s Milk (2015) 

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Independent Bookstore Day

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May 2nd marks the first annual Independent Bookstore Day, a holiday that makes us happy down to our book-lovin’ souls. Small publishers and independent bookstores go together like bread and butter. The idea to celebrate small, independent bookstores came about after the success of last year’s California Bookstore Day. Looking to expand the celebration outside of the Bear Flag State, independent bookstores around the country quickly made the move to make the day a national event.

The purpose of the day, according to the official website for California Bookstore Day, is to honor not just the unique independent bookstores around the country, but to praise the unique role they play in the lives of those who frequent them:

“Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent.”

Celebrate the fine art of “aimless perusal” this year in the indie bookstore nearest you, and help to make the first national Independent Bookstore Day a success.

To join in on the conversation, be sure to follow Independent Bookstore Day on Twitter and Facebook.

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