This issue we start with two poems on inspiration. First is Jane Blanchard’s ‘Wash and Wear’, a sonnet to the how inspiring a good teacher can be. This is followed by Gaby Bedetti’s ‘Inspired by Essay Responses to The Beet Queen’, a found poem prompted by an amusingly eclectic range of reactions on the text.
Wash and Wear*
The man had two pairs of pants—black and tan.
Shirts varied more in color, not in style—
collars were splayed and tieless. The textile
was always some synthetic rather than
cotton or wool. His lessons, though, were real—
the quirks of English grammar; the techniques
of playwrights, poets, novelists; the piques
of essayists; the tropes of all such spiel.
I learned much from the man, despite the fact
I donned the latest fashions as a belle
of arts and letters. Once cast, I played well
the model student—eager and exact.
Decades later, my wardrobe is quite plain;
a love of language is what I retain.
Inspired by Essay Responses to The Beet Queen
In the vapid excerpt from the novel, in the calm and loving excerpt,
in the abusive excerpt from The Beet Queen,
Louise Erdrich replays an event in which two siblings
are mistreated by the environment through imagery and paradox.
Mrs. X is our English teacher who orders us around like a dictator.
The novel was written in 1986 and included railroads as a main means of transportation.
The details help the reader think that Karl and Mary were from back in the days
where crops were a major factor in living the 80’s.
Back then, heat was not supplied as much as it is today.
I’m scared for Eddy’s prom.
I know Chantal is going to look beautiful and I’m not.
First off they are in North Dakota, which as many of us know, means there is nothing of interest there.
The children need to get away from the town itself—the butcher of dreams.
I really do love Christian and want to be with him
but I can’t because of the cruel fact that he doesn’t know of my existence.
Today life isn’t suffering. Life is survival.
It isn’t the train that’s moving. It’s life that’s passing them by.
Tides and Currents, a collection of ‘songs of experience, songs of joy [and] songs of irony and wisdom’ (Nick Norwood), is Jane Blanchard’s second publication by Keslay Books. This and her first, Unloosed, are available through Amazon.
* ‘Wash and Wear’ was first published in The Sonnet Scroll 14 (2015).