“These are poems of deep quiet, meditations on identity and personhood that proclaim the physical world is all we have while simultaneously insisting there is, must be, something more, a dimension of human contact and fealty that transcends the daily tragedy and furniture of our lives. ‘Countries have fallen, and they have flowers / on their heads, a camera looped around / my father’s arm,’ Katherine Bode-Lang writes in ‘My Parents Getting Off the Plane in Guam, 1972.’ ‘This picture—the only love story I know.’”
Cover image: “Droplet: End of Winter” by Susie Hosterman; used by permission.
Published: May 15, 2009 [125 copies]
Second printing: November, 2009 [100 copies]
Winner of the 2010 New England Poetry Club’s Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize!
Katherine Bode-Lang holds an MFA from Penn State University, where she is now the Assistant Director of The Methodology Center, a research center addressing issues in the behavioral and health sciences. Her poems have appeared in Subtropics, The Mid-American Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Rattle, and Hayden’s Ferry Review, among others. She was an Editor’s Choice for The Mid-American Review’s James Wright Poetry Award in 2007 and 2008, and she received Academy of American Poets Prizes three times from Penn State and Hope College. A Native of Michigan and former resident of Tucson, Arizona, she lives in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Andrew. Spring Melt is her first chapbook.
She’s Heard It Said if It Weren’t for the Sky We Would Go Mad
This will be the blue rip that lets you see the moons of Jupiter with clarity,
the light ringing Saturn, our small planet seeking heat, this system
spinning 30,000 light-years from
the center of the Milky Way, a trillion stars in its spiral arms.
Her mother writes: I fear the gray bowl about us,
the wooden spoon you put to it. You have such clear
eyes: you see the halos of the sun, its drifting, flaming spots.
I want you to let the Black-Eye Galaxy go.
This will be the tear to show you the galaxy spanning light-years, how many
galaxies just like it hover close with gravity to our hive of stars;
this will shoot you past Andromeda and into the Virgo supercluster.
Let skin be as hollow and as dark as the barrel
of your telescope. Stop polishing lenses, cutting mirrors,
seeing yourself as the Ocean of Storms. A girl
cannot be the moon.
You cover a piece of sky with your thumb and the swirls of your skin hide
just one star. This will be the stone through the window that gives you
galaxies like sand.
Where there is one star, there are shadows of a thousand galaxies.
will fill wih points of light. You will see galaxies of galaxies. You will want
to cut your ear off.
We can see 3,000 stars above the horizon on a good night.
We can name the craters of the moon. We can calculate
the distance to Delphinus. Don not forget the call
of gravity. Do not draw constellations from his back.
No longer be a burning point.
Spring Melt won the 2010 New England Poetry Club’s Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize for a chapbook of poems published in the last two years, and Katie was invited to read her poems at Harvard. Please join us in congratulating her on this wonderful achievement.
Please click here to purchase Katie’s chapbook.