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Litany for the City

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Litany for the City

By: Ryan Teitman

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Selected by Jane Hirshfield from over 600 manuscripts, Litany for the City is the winner of the 10th annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. Of Litany for the City, Hirshfield writes "I found in this manuscript a poet doing the work of real exploration, thinking and feeling his way through images of cities both real and metaphoric, inner and outer. This book carries both startling imaginative freedoms and the impulsion of a person navigating the terrain of his life by means of the star-chart and sextant of poems––a winning combination, for me."


"Things are changed by how they are used. Even the hot breath of a resolute sigh, trapped under a blanket at the moment of waking transforms into a 'coat of warmth / that I knew could / never fray.'" —Southern Indiana Review


 


Cathedrals


We tent our fingers


to make a cathedral.


This is how it's always been


done--how a whisper


between two palms


becomes an architecture


we can't fit into


our mouths. We hear


words like nave


and remember shoveling


piles of tulips into


a burnt-out flatbed.


An old man says 


cupola, and I think


of knotty loaves


of rye stacked


like cordwood


in the baker's pantry.


I dream of a church's


unfinished dome


squinting upward


like the battered eye-socket


of a bare-knuckle boxer.


Every dream is its own


kind of shaky cathedral--


joists and vaults bracing


it against the weight


of another morning


invoked against us.


There's a cathedral


built from the leg bones


of draft horses and saints.


A cathedral of birds


scaffolding the sky.


A cathedral of bodies


opening to each other


on beds smooth as altars.


A cathedral of hands


unbuttoning the skin


of every prayer


within reach.

Additional Information

Authors Ryan Teitman
Edition Paperback
ISBN 9781934414804
Publish Date May 2012

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