Thursday, December 12, 2013
Connecticut Poet and Activist
I Stumbled upon some great poetry by a Connecticut resident, David Morse.
I've included a sample (below)
Actually, I didn't just find Mr. Morse, by chance. I had a friend once, a mentor, a talented professor and poet. I took one of her poetry courses at the University of Connecticut. Her name was Joan Joffe Hall. She loved my narrative poetry (more than me) and encouraged my writing. She wrote me letters of recommendation. When I won the Jennie Hackman Memorial Award for Short Fiction, she put an arm around me and said "You got it...the Hackman." It was a poignant moment, for me. I won a thousand dollars,(I was in shock...for a story!) an opportunity to read from my story "Yielding", and publication in the Long River Review. It was the first time I took myself seriously as a fiction writer. My English professors inquired about my writing, asked me what I planned on doing. I had no idea why they asked, or what I might do. I completed graduate school, became an English teacher, and, later, when I couldn't quit the writing bug, Joan helped me get into an MFA program (which I decided to quit). She was always rooting for me, even if we didn't keep in touch, she was on my mind. I was going to forward her my latest publications, small gains but something, and I discovered she had passed on in September, 2013. David Morse was her talented husband.
"Honor the Stones", from David's chapbook. Available from Dogwood Press.
Waiting for Spring
I take the first pew in this rough church,
seat myself on flat stones and look up
at fractured bedrock bulging skyward,
vertical black stripe painted by groundwater
curved into a bow, picture the arrow flying
across the valley and try not to think about
Darfur, or the woman at the embassy of Sudan
whose job is to delay requests for visas,
or flies dabbling in a dead baby's wound,
women's eyes dulled by rape and loss
of everything; helicopter gunships, devils
on horseback. This is Connecticut,
green land waiting for spring to untie
the black knot of winter. Soon will come
choirs of spring peepers, skunk cabbage.
Last night on a hill I inhaled the soft
sweet fragrance of maple sap funneling
moonlit steam into the shape of Africa.
Links to Joan Joffe Hall's publications