Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wednesday Poet Series No. 7

To be able marvel as the world passes before us is a good thing. Of course some things rise to a higher level of marvel then others. This morning I marveled at the $51.1 million price tag the Boston Red Sox agreed to pay the Seibu Lions of Japan for the rights to "talk" to their pitching ace Daisuke Matsuzaka. I repeat talk to. Then it could easily take another $30 million plus to sign him. If the Sox cannot sign him, they will get their $51.1 million back. What has this to do with poetry you ask? I believe it is critical for poets to always be open to the possibility of astonishment in whatever form it comes along. It is a process of exercising our perceptive instincts.

A few poets I have read this week: Cecilia Woloch, Kelli Russell Agodon, Gloria Vando, Edward Hirsch, Catherine Daly, John Ashbery, Janusz Szuber, and Donald Hall.

My selection for this weeks Wednesday Poet Series is: Kelli Russell Agodon

Kelli Russell Agodon is 37 and she hails from the Pacific Northwest. She was born in Seattle, Washington and was educated in the Northwest as well earning her bachelor's degree from the University of Washington and an M.F.A. from the Rainier Writers Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.

As I read through a number of her poems I was struck by the versatility of her subject matter. Every once and awhile I struggle to broaden my own subject matter so I always respect those who have been able to successfully do so.

Obviously others have noticed her work favorably. She has received The James Hearst Poetry Prize, the Lohmann Prize, the William Stafford Award, the Carlin Aden Award for formal verse and grants from the Washington State Artist Trust as well as the Puffin Foundation. Her book Small Knots, was a finalist for the 2004 Cherry Grove Poetry Prize and Geography, winner of the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award.

Her work has been featured on NPR's "The Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor, The Raven Chronicles, Literary Salt, Branches Quarterly, The Poet's Canvas, the Alsop Review, and The Adirondack Review (which nominated her for the Pushcart Prize 2002).

Kelli was anthologized in the book, Poets Against the War edited by Sam Hamill. A lot of her writing energies seem focused on peace and utilization of poetry as an instrument of peace. For example, she edited the Poetry Broadside Series: The Making of Peace, which was displayed international throughout National Poetry Month this year and she has served as the Regional Coordinator for Poets for Peace.

According to her own web site, she is involved in writing workshops and provides one-on-one consultation.

Here are a selection of some of the poetry of Kelli Russell Agodon:

Neruda's Hat <- I particularly enjoyed this one. A Mermaid Questions God

Of a Forgetful Sea

Three Poems <- Reading Poetry to Cure Insomnia, It is Easy to Wake Up in Someone Else's Poem, and Limbo

Two Poems <- Reality Cooking Show ( a favorite of mine), and Picking Cherries ( enjoyed the Catholic touch here)

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