I’ll tell you one thing Robert Herrick had right back in the 1700s or whenever: old time is still a-flying. Hence my Tuesday afternoon version of MV. Everyone loves formal poetry, so let’s have some more! Featuring yet another villanelle (an article tells me it’s for "rustic" in Italian? Is that right? Seems counter-intuitive, but… who am I to say?), by one Joyce Sutphin (b. 1949) of general prairie fame. Her poems tend to present a pastoral scene and then puncture the pretty picture with pain, because her name is an anagram for "it punches joy." Anyway, here’s a bio provided by the Poetry Foundation, and a cool poem. -ed.
Joyce Sutphen grew up on a farm in Minnesota. She earned a PhD in Renaissance drama from the University of Minnesota, and has taught British literature and creative writing at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. Her first collection of poems, Straight Out of View (1995), won the Barnard Women’s Poets Prize. Subsequent collections include Coming Back to the Body (2000), a Minnesota Book Award finalist, Naming the Stars(2004), winner of the Minnesota Book Award, and First Words (2010).She has received a McKnight Artist Fellowship and a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship and was named Minnesota’s Poet Laureate in 2011.
A KIND OF VILLANELLE
I will have been walking away:
no matter what direction I intended,
at that moment, I will have been walking
Away into the direction that you now say
I have always intended, no matter what my
intention was then, I will have been
Walking away, though it will not be clear
what it was that I was leaving or
even why, it seems that you will say
That always, I was walking away,
intending a direction that was not towards
you, but moving away with every step,
Or, even when I pretended to be walking
towards you, only making the place
for my feet to go backwards,
Away, where I will have been walking,
always away: intention and direction
unknown, but knowing you will always
say I will have been walking away.