Ordinances. Number 2 in the Seven Kitchens Press ReBound Series, selected by Ron Mohring. Originally published in 1989 by Ardis Press. This new second edition includes an introduction by Edward Field.
Cover design by Kari Larsen.
Published: October 21, 2010 [125 copies]
“She has found a language where poetry can sit in the boardroom, the mall, the government, and skillfully adopt the official cliches that work to our disadvantage, the very language of our manipulation, with its corporate blandness and heartlessness, all in a lordly tone that makes the injustices all the more blatant, as if all is as it should be, and the door is shut in your face if you want to object. It is an Alice-in-Wonderland world Lazard portrays, a perfect indictment of the grotesque predicament we live in, how we are treated by institutions–governmental, corporate, and commercial–how our lives are manipulated.”
Naomi Lazard‘s work has won many awards, including two Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (one for poetry, and one for her translations of Faiz Ahmed Faiz). She is the author of Cry of the Peacocks, The Moonlit Upper Deckerina, What Amanda Saw (a children’s book), The White Raven (a screenplay), and The Elephant and the Dove (a stage play). Her writing has appeared in many journals, including The New Yorker, Chicago Review, Harper’s, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar, and has been reviewed in The New York Times, Grand Street, The Village Voice, and The San Francisco Chronicle, among many others. In 1992, Lazard co-founded The Hamptons International Film Festival.
Ordinance on the News from the Front
All the reports that have reached you
are true. In that area known as the front
no one sleeps anymore.
According to a recent bulletin
we know that infants are born there
with their eyes open; chickens
stagger in the dusty roads
for lack of sleep. There is
no escaping the disasters,
nor is there any chance for a settlement.
Nobody knows how it will end.
However, we are doing all we can
to limit the conflict, and, if possible,
to stop it. Our efforts to date
have been successful. The war
is contained in a small area, the front.
The rumor that this front is advancing
is not true. It is common knowledge
that the front is elsewhere,
in another country.
We are keeping it there
where it belongs.
More of Naomi’s poems online:
- “In Answer to Your Query” at The Writer’s Almanac (and read by Garrison Keillor)
- “When Autumn Came” by Faiz Ahmed Faiz (translated by Naomi Lazard)
- “Ordinance on Arrival” at Blue Ridge Journal
Please click here to purchase Naomi’s chapbook.