Short-listed for the $25,000 Lenore
Marshall Poetry Prize, awarded
by the Academy of American Poets.
Marianne Boruch is the author of four previous collections
of poetry: Moss Burning and A
Stick That Breaks and Breaks,
both published by Oberlin College Press, as well as Descendant (1989)
from the Gazebo (1985). The director of
the graduate program in creative writing at Purdue University,
Boruch's complex and compelling poetry astonishes with
its precision, depth, and lucidity.
"Ever since her first book, Marianne Boruch has been
among our most formidable and thought-provoking practitioners
of poetry. It is not that she is flamboyant or flashy,
armored in theory or swimming with a school. Her poems
are contained, steady, and exceptionally precise. They
build toward blazing insights with the utmost honesty and
care. How, we wonder, did she accomplish that so effortlessly?
And the answer arrives not far behind: through attention,
craft, integrity, and vision."
They make a great noise in the leaves,
trying to be quiet, these
ROTC boys, to be stealth
as the bomber eaten
by fog. Their faces
smudged black, their slow
passage under maples, under
the huge oaks. It's fall,
its wild ravishments. Everything's
past camouflage into almost
freeze and rest
and the last thought. They do not
look at my son and me, where
we might walk, or where
we've been in these woods.
And their emptiness, which is
a kind of focus, they practice it
like prayer, like the sad violinist, fierce
and without any hope
of song, climbing his C minor scale
for the twentieth time. Afternoon nearly
lost to twilight. They look--where else?--
perfectly ahead. A line
is a line. And their rifles, even
the smallest--I watch him--holds his
not gently, hard against him.
Oh, to be
a threat, to swallow
anything. Dear boy, go home.
Go home, where you left your longing.
Copyright c 2004 by Marianne Boruch. May not be
reproduced without permission.