Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kathleen Spivack's, "A History of Yearning"

It's a pleasure to have poet Kathleen Spivack's A History of Yearning in my hands and admire the blurb-less back cover--generous margins, white space, and a black and white photo of the much published author. Her poems have arrived and speak for themselves: lyrical, elegiac, super-sensitive, intelligent.

Among my favorites, "The Path into Night":

Two drawn out
calls of birds
falling in fifths
in late evening
and now the tree frogs
start to throb.
Solitude sinks in
like a blanket, bluish
absence inhaled: skin
a sheen of sadness
finely silver-edged.
If one's whole life
were to be this
solitary would the
true notes
start to sound;
repeated bird song
measuring darkness?

It was also a pleasure to hear Spivack read from this--her just-out book--last Sunday at the Pierre Menard Gallery on Arrow Street in Harvard Square. The event, sponsored by the Grolier Poetry Bookshop, brought out keen listeners.

Kathleen Spivack and Ifeanyi Menkiti, owner of the Grolier, poet, publisher, and professor at Wellesley, warmly commanded and engaged the audience.


  1. Thanks for posting this lovely, quiet poem, and for reminding me of Kathleen Spivack. Our ships passed many years ago; i didnt know at the time that she was a poet, but her intelligence and presence, the way she walked across a room, were palpable. (just did the math: 43 years ago!)

  2. Susan--I think the poem is one of Kathleen's best and like the question-end of the poem.

    Oh, the years!

    Be well!

  3. Wow.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. A beautiful, alive, throbbing poem. Of course, I filter it through the lens of my own current solitude, and it feels direct and astoundingly good to me.

    I sure would like to sit with you over a cup of something someday.

    I'm going to pretend that I already have.



  4. That poem touched me more than if it'd been a full orchestra playing Beethoven's 9th symphony.

    And there I was, writing about simplicity last Sunday. I should have added Kathleen's name to my list.

    Greetings from London.

  5. 'Ah, yes' to all the Tearful Dishwasher, Susan, The Cuban, you and Kathleen have said here, Mim.
    I am listening.