New York, NY, USA
Rachel Hadas studied classics at Harvard, poetry at Johns Hopkins, and comparative literature at Princeton. Between college and graduate school she spent four years in Greece, an experience that surfaces variously in much of her work. Since 1981 she has taught in the English Department of the Newark (NJ) campus of Rutgers University, and has also taught courses in literature and writing at Columbia and Princeton, as well as serving on the poetry faculty of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the West Chester Poetry Conference. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant in poetry, and an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Author of over 20 books of poetry, prose, and translations, her new book of poems, Questions in the Vestibule, was published by TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press in the fall of 2016.
Shalom Gorewitz has received grants and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; Fulbright Foundation; Asian Cultural Council; Arts America; New York State Council on the Arts; National Endowment for the Arts; America the Beautiful Foundation; Poets and Writers Fund; New York Foundation for the Arts. Celebrated at film festivals around the world, his work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Germany; Itau Cultural Center, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Kowasaki Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Library of California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA; and Getty Museum Video Art Archive, LA, CA. He is a Professor of Video Art and New Media at Ramapo College of New Jersey.
Rachel Hadas: August 2013, Shalom’s first visit to Vermont; I was writing on the porch and he was surreptitiously filming me through the screen. “Yemaya” was a month or two earlier, so no, this wasn’t the first time. The superposition of my poem “But It’s True,” one of many love poems I was writing that summer, and the opacity and torqueing and dappling later in the video – that is all Shalom’s magic.
Turmeric, rosemary: blend with rum.
Winter is fading, spring will come,
snow will melt, and leaves set in.
Rosemary, turmeric: shake in gin.
Turmeric, bourbon, rosemary:
a blue-green bruise leaks toward my eye
(a week ago I bumped my head).
I swab and bathe it. The bruise will fade
faster with this concoction
recommended by my son.
Soak a cloth and wipe the place.
Weapons are poised to fight in space.
Refugees packed in lifeboats drown.
Cyber attacks: the system’s down,
an outage no one can repair.
The turmeric has stained my hair.
The pillow smells of alcohol.
Wind and rain and petals fall.
Sunday excursion: Hamilton Grange,
the empty streets subdued and strange,
the widowed house perched in its park.
White petals gleam in the gathering dark.
April this year is cool and slow.
The stain seeps toward my left eyebrow.
Care for the hurt place: soak, swab, wrap.
And then, before I take a nap,
dab the spot with oil of myrrh.
The poultice: patience and desire.
Turmeric, rosemary, and rum:
My love and I are rocked in time.
The motion lulls us, we forget
the bruise, the wound, the doom, the threat.
[Originally published in the New Yorker, February 9, 2016, “A Poultice” will be included in the upcoming collection, Love and Dread.]
The elements were stark: a winter wall,
snow, ice, snapped wrist. Through the break
I could just glimpse the color of the bone.
But the cold and white, the January crust,
weren’t the whole story. Seasons turn,
bones knit, a secret stirs beneath the snow.
I told myself
my cast, like winter, wouldn’t last forever.
But there was no way to envision this
country of velvet silence on the far
side of a gate I had unlatched in sleep.
A nameless angel’s finger to his lips:
unscaffolded by language, hold the thought?
Not thought, not word. Rather breath. A vow.
Sunlight this late August afternoon
tips its slow green syrup to the lawn.
Mercy so deep I never knew till now.
The break is mended. Here I am with you.
[From Questions in the Vestibule, TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2016]