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Stories from BOA Readers: #BOATurns40

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Laura McCullough | Little Silver, NJ

One of the first books of poetry I read was Kinnell's Book of Nightmares. All those poems in parts accruing to meaning, the anaphoras, the crazed and yet graceful of collisions of sacred and profound, the wildnesses in "Little Sleep's-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight" with its mad sounds—
"and the stones saying over their one word, ci-gît, ci-gît, ci-gît,"—and its desires—may "lovers no longer whisper to the presence beside them in the / dark, O corpse-to-be ...", I stood forever since in the "café at one end / of the Pont Mirabeau, at the zinc bar / where wine takes the shapes of upward opening glasses" wondering about the ways we love, the ways we survive the terror of loving in the face of mortality, going down "the paths of vanished alphabets." I read this book to my first baby son, just home from the hospital, christened him with this poem especially. I'm emailing it to him now. It still makes me tremble with awe, a state we are rather numb to today, and maybe one we need desperately.

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