the anagram for C.M. Burroughs’ name is something you might say coming in from a frigid walk this month: "Brr! Um… [coughs]." I can hear Gabriel say it as he literally sweeps Lily, the caretaker’s daughter, off her feet while entering Aunt Julia’s house… This is how we’re trained to think in December, even though it’s 60 degrees in Pittsburgh.
But speaking of Pittsburgh, C.M. Burroughs was one of the "alum" poets invited back by the Pitt English department for a reading last month. She completed her MFA here, and now teaches at Columbia College, Chicago. She has composed poems in conjunctions with art installations at the Warhol Museum, and the Studio Museum of Harlem (which incidentally did a collaboration with our Carnegie Museum this fall, from which the "Cleopatra’s Cape" we looked at while back was taken). She’s also the winner of several prestigious fellowships. Her first full-length collection came out in 2012.
The Poetry Foundation’s Twitter feed brought this new poem to my attention today, as a reminder that I wanted to share all the poets I heard read back in November. This looks like a sonnet with an extra stanza thrown in. Has a lot of noun repetition, but I haven’t figured out the pattern to that. Have a good week! -ed.
Do I have to dress up or can I wear jeans? Dear Joaquin,
casual Sunday is a plus! Can a woman be fully present in heels?
Remember the other day at the shops, we saw the T-shirt that
read “Blessed” across the front? I know
you picked it up for me as a joke, but it made me pause. I think
I am blessed in the way I understand people to mean it: having
good fortune. But this is where faith messes with my clean concept,
because practicing Christians don’t believe blessings come
out the clear blue sky. So here’s God again, all up in the Kool-Aid.
I’m dating myself, but I mean that He gets in the way of
spiritual minimalism. He is at once contained and uncontainable,
which, intellectually, is hard to understand. So being blessed
must require that one acts in such a way that presses God to bestow
blessings, which isn’t the same thing as good fortune, but I want
to believe that people are saying, “You have such good fortune,
I hope for good fortune, too,” because it means that no one is
preaching at me like, “You have good God-God,” “Father
God I hope He Gods for us, too,” “You got God?” Et cetera.