Finalist, the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry
This stunning collection was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry. Richly allusive, the poems in Brigit Pegeen Kelly's The Orchard evoke elements of myth in distinctive aural and rhythmic patterns. Her poetic strength lies in her ability to cast poems as modern myths and allegories. Propelled by patterned repetitions and lush cadences, the poems move the reader through a landscape where waking and dream consciousness fuse. Stephen Dobyns writes, "Brigit Pegeen Kelly is one of the very best poets now writing in the United States. In fact, there is no one who is any better. Not only are her poems brilliantly made, but they also give great pleasure. Rarely are those two qualities seen together in one poet, but in Kelly's work, especially in her new book, The Orchard, it happens again and again. For a lover of poetry, the result is pure exhilaration." "…Her poems are like no one else’s—hard and luminous, weird in the sense of making a thing strange that we at last might see it, poems that from book to book show a strength that flexes itself, both formally and in terms of content, in ways that continue to, at equal turns, teach and surprise."–American Poet
The Satyr's Heart
Now I rest my head on the satyr's carved chest,
The hallow where the heart would have been, if sandstone
Had a heart, if a headless goat man could have a heart.
His neck rises to a dull point, points upward
To something long gone, elusive, and at his feet
The small flowers swarm, earnest and sweet, a clamor
Of white, a clamor of blue, and black the sweating soil
They breed in...If I sit without moving, how quickly
Things change, birds turning tricks in the trees,
Colorless birds and those with color, the wind fingering
The twigs, and the furred creatures doing whatever
Furred creatures do. So, and so. There is the smell of fruit
And the smell of wet coins. There is the sound of a bird
Crying, and the sound of water that does not move...
If I pick the dead iris? If I wave it above me
Like a flag, a blazoned flag? My fanfare? Little fare
With which I buy my way, making things brave?
No, that's not it. Uncovering what is brave. The way
Now I bend over and with my foot turn up a stone,
And there they are: the armies of pale creatures who
Without cease or doubt sew the sweet sad earth.
© BOA Editions, Ltd 2004
Paperback ISBN: 1-929918-48-8
Publication Date: March 2004