In some ways this volume is my collected poems if “collected” poems are a product not of the poet’s age and health but of the age of the poems in the book. Among the poems that appear in this book, for instance, “Manassas” is the oldest, written nearly fifty years ago, shortly after I took a teaching job at Northern Virginia Community College in Manassas, a campus adjacent to the Manassas Battlefield Park. “Manassas” won the Four Quarters Poetry Prize from LaSalle University in 1978. I remarked then, formally and informally, on what I have repeated often over the past half century, my belief that poetry has potential to stand for a great many things in our culture, including our evolving understandings of the world. And maybe it does.
A central theme in the volume, expressed in a poem written during that same early period in my life as a writer, “Violence,” may be a case in point. “Violence” was published first as a poetry pamphlet by Tamarack Editions in 1979 and was soon thereafter, according to my editor, the late Alley Hoey, adopted as a textbook for a graduate course in sociology at Syracuse University. That insight about poetry-as-a-way-of-knowing was suggested to me by an unnamed sociologist who found a way to make the subject of human violence presentable by using a poem. That act encouraged me to continue to contemplate ways in which poetry could tell certain truths different in their expression from the accumulation of “facts” we are apt to find in a sociology textbook, which is likely to offer a reasoned explanation of everything from angry outbursts to declarations of war.
Bringing Art to market, one project at a time
Redhawk Creative Solutions is available to assist in bringing your artistic endeavor to market. If you've won a grant, we will help you maximize your money's worth. If you've never created or sold an artistic project, we can help. Contact Patty Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org for details.