To receive the National Endowment of the Arts award makes possible a continued and concentrated study in the field of poetry. I am most humbled and appreciative of how this award will support my goal of poetic engagement with the larger world community, as well as, those communities that often are excluded or ignored. We writers spend countless hours in solitude, huddled over our journals and computers, looking for the right combination of syllables to compel a poem to sing or cut like a dagger. We never know if the poems we are nurturing will see the light of day, or if anyone will ever read them. Each poem requires so much dedication and attention. In many ways, this award is an affirmation, a way of saying, "Randall you can keep on going just a little while longer, and that the work you are doing is important to someone here in this place that we call Earth." I sincerely thank the National Endowment of the Arts for having that certain faith in me.
from "Ten Signifiers Characteristic of (Us) As Reported By Carolyn Rogers"
BROTHER KEEPER WE GONE LEAP INTO A BRAND NEW THANG
the windowpain is a gateway to hurt
rolling down the hillside. we navigate
landscape altered & forever twisted
in the cane break, or cain broke repeatedly
his crooked oath. our downpressor
brother artist ceaselessly has tried to blot out
darkn(us) with a misremembered horizon
almost drowning. a diminutive tear
barely noticeable but nonetheless.
no shelter for the eternal fugitive who
wanting to fly away through the pane
flies--: at a moment’s notice, sneaks
through the square structure so bent
on x-ing (us)--: a storied beauty.
Randall Horton is the author of The Definition of Place (2006) and Lingua Franca of Ninth Street (2009), both from Main Street Rag. His poetry prizes include the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award and the Bea González Prize for Poetry. He has an MFA from Chicago State University and a PhD from SUNY Albany. Horton is a Cave Canem Fellow, a member of the Affrilachian Poets, and assistant professor of English at the University of New Haven. He also serves as senior editor for Willow Books and editor-in-chief for Tidal Basin Review.
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths