02 May 2012

Poem: Gospel by Rita Dove

Who says you can't read/post poetry AFTER Poetry Month? Particularly something as delicious as this one, by former Poet Laureate Rita Dove, from her 1987 Pulitzer Prize winning collection Thomas and Beulah?

Note to poets and other writers: Rumor has it that Thomas and Beulah was rejected by numerous publishers before being picked up by Carnegie Mellon....so keep writing and hang in there!


Swing low so I
can step inside

a humming ship of voices
big with all

the wrongs done
done them.
No sound this generous
could fail:

ride joy until
it cracks like an egg,
make sorrow
seethe and whisper.

From a fortress
of animal misery
soars the chill voice
of the tenor, enraptured

with sacrifice.

What do I see,

he complains, notes
brightly rising

towards a sky
blank with promise.
Yet how healthy
the single contralto

settling deeper
into her watery furs!
Carry me home,
she cajoles, bearing

down. Candelabras
brim.  But he slips
through God’s net and swims
heavenward, warbling.

from Thomas and Beulah (Carnegie Mellon Univ Press, 1986)

And a heads up for those in the New York area (h/t thanks to the Poetry Society of America)

Friday, May 4, 7:30pm

Queens, NY

Rita Dove's Thomas and Beulah

Poets in the Playhouse, brings  poetry from page to stage, beginning with a theatrical staging by students of Thomas and Beulah, the Pulitzer prize-winning collection by Rita Dove at Queens College with a theatrical staging by students. Introduced by Darrel Alejandro Holnes.

Co-sponsored by the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation and the Department of Drama, Theatre & Dance.
The Little Theater at Queens College
King Hall, Room 115
65-30 Kissena Blvd
Flushing, New York

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