Writers' Corner

Averill Curdy

2007 Poetry

Author's Statement

I started writing poetry seriously a decade ago, after working for years as an arts administrator, as well as a marketing manager and technical editor in the software industry. I write slowly-always, it seems, at the very limit of what I know-and I'm currently working on finishing the last poems for my first book, Ovid in America. These longer poems and sequences find their subjects through the voices of early American naturalists and explorers. The NEA fellowship provides an inestimable gift, not only research travel and writing time, but also, more importantly, from the judges' faith in my work, a deep and hidden well of psychological support during a crucial period.


NORTHWEST PASSAGE

Standing on this deck I have watched

morning's first pale peach jeopardy

of light flush alleys and rooftops,

just touching my neighbors' gardens,

until they seethed like the green smoke
 

of a new world. On these sidewalks,

with the linden's melon scent twined

around an untuned engine's blue carbon

monoxide and Wednesday's trash,

I've looked for an authentic eloquence:
 

Frobisher returning three times

from Baffin Island, Boreal winds

still on his tongue, timbers strained by tons

of fool's gold. Circled with lamplight

I've imagined sailing under discipline
 

into strange seas where the sun hangs

dumb as a cabbage all day in ice.

Even as sirens squall down the block,

I've fallen asleep in my armchair,

tired as any theoretical geographer
 

after dinner, who dreams of trading

his knives for nutmegs, mirrors

for cinnamon and pearls, and beyond-

finding by brute necessity and skill

some route between suffering and song.