Black Lawrence Press
April 29, 2010

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Rachel Galvin

IN CAMBIUM LUCIDA

Sweet calendula, is it true what the gardener said—
when we learn the name of a thing

we no longer see it? If only I might hear the cinctured sorrow
in the cilia, the rumor of upshoot.

Rain makes love in its own language, uttering a phrase
in recitative,

a conversation in formlessness. It has a strange elation, as waves do
coming to the shore,

the multiplicity of a fluid touched with the thousand ideas
of photosynthesis,

dark sugared tubes whose relation to light dilates, as the arborvitae
abandons shingles

and fence posts for totems and seafaring vessels, in all shapes
branching into the mutable.

Q: Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on the day you wrote the above poem?

A: I wrote this poem while at a residency at Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island.  The air was riddled with the energy that precedes a storm. During my stay I had learned the term “sunshower,” also known as “a fox’s wedding,” which refers to what happens when the trickster sun shines even as rain falls.  It’s sometimes said that a sunshower predicts rain the next day. That day, a full-fledged rainstorm came; it was a warm rain for November and I bicycled through it. (I suppose I should say that I’d been reading some books about the natural history of the Pacific Northwest, as well as Roland Barthes, as the poem’s title indicates.)

Q: What is the last book you’ve read that made you want to grab a pen and write?

A: Susan Briante’s Pioneers in the Study of Motion, Anne Carson’s Nox, and Susan Wheeler’s Bag ‘o’ Diamonds.

Q: What is the most sublime meal you’ve ever eaten?
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A: My friend Kristan’s homemade chocolate chip cookies. They are sublime enough to spur earnest combat over the last one in any given batch. No joke.
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Rachel Galvin’s poetry collection Pulleys and Locomotion is available for purchase at Black Lawrence Press.

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