Judith Barrington: Lost Lands

Robin Becker Chapbook Series: Number 1
Lost Lands. Robin Becker Chapbook Series, Number 1. Winner of the 2008 Robin Becker Chapbook Prize, selected by Robin Becker:

“Beautifully crafted, Lost Lands demonstrates Barrington’s musical ear, observant eye, and quick wit, as in the marvelous ‘Ode to Boots’ in which the speaker links a photograph of Vita Sackville-West’s sartorial style to a memory of her own youthful horseback-riding habit. Poems such as ‘The London Bombs’ and ‘Clearcut’ address the sources of global terror and environmental degradation, interweaving personal and political with originality, prosodic rigor, and supple intelligence.”

Cover image: “Manzanita Beach View,” copyright © 2008 by Marcia McKean; used by permission.

 Published: October 1, 2008 [125 copies]
Second printing: July, 2009 [100 copies]
23 pages, 5 x 7.25 inches
ISBN: 978-0-9820372-2-5
$7.00

Judith Barrington is the author of three books of poetry: Horses and the Human Soul (2004), History and Geography (1989) and Trying to Be an Honest Woman (1985). A previous chapbook of poems, Postcard from the Bottom of the Sea, was published in 2008. Her Lifesaving: A Memoir won the 2001 Lambda Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir.  Her work has appeared in numerous journals and she has won many awards including The Dulwich International Festival Poetry Prize (U.K.), TheClackamas Review Poetry Prize, and the A.C.L.U. of Oregon’s Freedom of Expression Award.  She is a faculty member of the University of Alaska’s MFA Program, and she teaches for The Poetry School in Britain and Spain.

Lost Lands

a word is elegy to what it signifies —
                                              –Robert Hass

The thinking, old and new, is still about loss–
so many pages filled with decaying Edens:
places where poets, lovers, thoughtful people,
made the mistake of going back:
Tintern Abbey, blousy with candy wrappers;
Fern Hill faded from carefree green to mud;
New Brunswick woods, crossed by nocturnal buses,
but never bringing forth from scratchy shadows
that perfect, ambling moose, high as a church–
Bishop’s sad-faced harbinger of joy.

Yet even knowing this, I enter the gash
in the chalky hills, try to rekindle the past
with steps that slide on trampled, grubby grass
and search again for my body’s imprint, stretched
deep in daisies, purple clover holding
the shape of someone young, someone flat
on her back, gazing past small brown bees,
the sky smudged with wavering vapor trails
of planes headed south where I always wanted to go.
The word is honeysuckle; the life was sweet.

Please click here to purchase Judith’s chapbook.

More poems online by Judith Barrington:

See also:

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