Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Thursday, April 22, 2010

POET OF THE DAY: R.T. SMITH

Rod Smith has been a good friend and fellow traveler for over thirty years. Rod's work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Best American Short Stories, thePushcart Prize Anthology and New Stories from the South. His most recent collection of poetry, Outlaw Style (Arkansas, 2007), received the Library of Virginia Poetry Prize. His third collection of stories, The Calaboose Epistles, was published by Iris Press in 2009, and he is working on a book-length series of poems about Flannery O’Connor entitled The Red Wolf. He edits Shenandoah and teaches writing and literature at Washington and Lee University.

The Blue Yodel was originally in Gettysburg Review, Storm Warning in Virginia Quarterly Review. They’re both from THE RED WOLF: A DREAM OF FLANNERY O’CONNOR.

To read an interview with Rod Smith, go to http://www.cortlandreview.com/issuethree/rodandjohn3.htm



Beyond the Crepe Myrtles, Blue Yodel


The snake in his new outfit coiled and shivered.

The mockingbird from high in the live oak mocked.

Mama on the porch rocker cleaned her two barrel

and sang how looping a skin over the rail top

might make a stubborn sky shake down a spurt of rain.

No bonbons or violins, but a busy evening

just the same: cornbread, birdsong, sweet potato pie

and the greedy star-glint of a diamondback’s eye.

Roses on the hedge shook like the passing of a ghost.

I scribbled every moment in my Blue Horse book,

a stay-at-home girl dead-set no life’s lesson be lost.

Old Shot ran his knife blade along the guitar neck

till the sweaty steel of six strings quaked and whined.

No prophet happened by to spit out a wisecrack.

Lightning in the key of C, a weapon on the frets.

A yodel quavered in my tongue. Pearls before swine.

Under the bird perch the serpent commenced to climb.

Between the thumb and trigger finger, the silk of time.



Storm Warning


The peacock’s shriek blistering the midnight air,

the roar they always claim mimics a freight train

rounding the bend. Hurricanes south and west,

though too distant to raise concern, but I wake

to the emperor bird crying murder again,

and mother at the door all frazzle and panic

is saying, “The funnel is coming. His vengeance,

girl. We’ve got to barn the livestock and reach

the cellar,” but this time I answer, Animals

be damned, and head for the stairs, my nightgown

shiny with sleep’s friction and now flowing.

In the flecking mirror: my motion’s ghost.

Across the field, an apparition spits its voice.

I give one thought to the files of twined letters

and unfinished fictions, the Royal typewriter

with its twenty-six demons. There are moments

when soul matters less than breath, and I imagine

the frayed pages of savage comedy all swirled

like a magician’s trick, the lame and the halt,

prophets and blessed dimwits all gone to chaos,

every plot giving way to blather and howl.

In the final count, story is just another affliction,

the illusion a grand scheme is within our ken.

With the weather almost sideways, peach trees

losing their blooms, our modest garden shaking

like the Second Coming and the sentry bird gone

who-knows-where, I can hear the Ecclesiast whisper

Vanity, vanity! I have to laugh, till my Parent

pulls me underground and bolts the door. Scent

of clay and mold, decaying spores. Are we

both Persephone now? No lamp or candle,

her feeble prayers our only light in the hour

of our need. “Save us, Our Lady, whose very name

we adore.” Mother says the whirlwind is ever

trumped by the Word, so we listen for a clement

whisper and implore the First Mover to calm

our hearts. Genuflecting for all we’re worth,

we weep like river willows and vow to adore

meek Jesus, while the dark god outside swaggers,

hisses his gospel of annihilation and roars.

7 comments:

willow said...

"Old Shot ran his knife blade along the guitar neck till the sweaty steel of six strings quaked and whined."

What a delightful picture he paints!

Jessie Carty said...

you know a lot of terrific poets & writers kay!

Vicki Lane said...

I love the tornado as the dark god, swaggering and roaring. I can only imagine, never having experienced one -- thanks heavens!

Anonymous said...

Are all the poems in this book in the voice of a woman?
I like the poetry, the images, but wish I knew more about why he wrote them and where they came from.

Jingle said...

knowledgeable and fun!

Jingle said...

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/well-here-comes-the-week-15-rally-awards-and-more/

two poetry awards,
plus
hot blog award,

you are a princess award for female in your family!

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Both are incredibly powerful poems.

The lines that willow cites also stay with me, as do the following
"Lightning in the key of C, a weapon on the frets...
Between the thumb and trigger finger, the silk of time."

As for the tornado poem, I would have to quote the entire piece to 'pinpoint' the exact location of its nearly brutal force... the 26 demons of the typewriter, the swaggering dark god, the gospel of annihiliation and roars ...

truly breathtaking.