Each month when my issue of Poetry comes, I keep it on my desk. When I take a break or have lunch, I like to thumb through the magazine and enjoy the poems. In the November, 2006, issue, there’s a poem that stopped me in my tracks. It’s one of those poems that lingers like the scent of a garden rose, powerful yet delicate and pleasing.
I’ve read it to my daughters, my husband, and visitors. Everyone who knows me is accustomed to my commanding them, “Listen to this!” I’ve shared poems by many writers with that command, including my own work.
This poet is Reginald Shepherd. The poem is “My Mother Was No White Dove.” This is a blow-your-mind poem, ripe with lines like, “My mother was the clouded-over night/a moon swims through…” This poem alone is worth the price of a subscription.
The bio note says all of Shepherd’s books are published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. His fifth, Fata Morgana, is due out this spring.
I don’t know the poet, but I’m grateful to him. His poem took me away for awhile, and those moments have a value that only a lover of poetry can understand.
And in the interest of disclosure, I can rave about the magazine because I've never been published there and I never will be.
So there you go.
Note: Thanks to all of you who've emailed me with news tips for my new column at The Writer. We have some sensational stories lined up. Column will debut mid-November. And continue to send me those tips!