Reading Dangerously #2

I also want to say a word or two about Lindsay Bernal’s poems also in Conjunctions on-line. First of all, they’re stunning. I keep trying to pull out a line or two as an example and wind up with a stanza, the entire poem…here I’ll give you one: “Then the crowd disappeared with the pigeons / that would eat from my hand if I let them.” In this line, I can see the scattering, also feel the whoosh of wings, the flight, the sudden abandonment. But in it is also a sense of possibility, regret–that if she’d let them eat from her hand…only once the pigeons have fed they take off. This is inevitable. I don’t want to ruin the arc of the poetic narrative here, so I’ll just say that all of this works to set up an emotional mood (in narrative retrospect) for what follows.

Lindsay has been the Creative Writing coordinator at the University of Maryland for some time now. When I was there, over four years ago now, I remember her sharing with me that she’d been working on her manuscript for…exactly how long, I can’t quite recall…but I know it was at least seven years, and I want to say nine. Her first collection is finally coming out in 2018. This emphasizes for me the importance of focus, determination, and continuing to move forward. Also, of trying not to get too frustrated when things take a while, and trying not to rush them when they do. For many of us, producing quality work like this takes a long time. There’s no way around it, only through.

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