Saturday, June 27, 2009

for rita dove (31)

one narcissus among the ordinary
for laureate rita dove

one narcissus among the ordinary beautiful
flowers, one unlike all the others! She pulled,
stooped to pull harder—
when, sprung out of the earth
on his glittering terrible
carriage, he claimed his due.
it is finished. No one heard her.

from “persephone, falling”

yet again, another on a shortlist of african
american literary firsts, u humbly bowed
yr head to receive the nation’s laurel
wreath; making apollo rainbow smile in
spite of himself. where h.d. unearthly
necromanced the common object, wryly
wrote greek statues to life & vivified an
exanimate imagism; yr fey magic, laureate,
framed the common middle-class experience,
made it coruscate, sparkle & twinkle…
[in for shiny copper pennies more than ezra
pound] made it so universal that folk forgot
u were black; so sometimes idiomatic that
the same folk were shock/shamed into
remembering that u were, writing in
whatever form that just suits u, whatever u
might want to say, in & thru’ voices not
normally heard. write on ms. dove, splendidly
spin yr words, figures & tales, be they mythic
oedipal plots in antebellum big houses,
or verse dramas u recite aloud to make
their music bud & bloom; yr lissome
poetics pleasurepush the lyrical boundaries
of grace. u ooh hoo got that magic
laureate’s touch, that special sumpin,

© Joseph McNair; 2009


  1. Ms Dove is doing some amazing stuff in her new book,“Sonata Mulattica”, poetry, plays, faux history, impressive. She is a poet laureate for all Americans to be proud of & I am sure she would be pleased by your tribute.

  2. Thank you. Ms. Dove is indeed an accomplished poet, playwright, dancer...