Monday, May 28, 2007

A Taste of Boxing the Compass

A taste of what's to come from Holly Hughes when we publish her winning chapbook, Boxing the Compass, in June. "Working on Deck" was originally published in Pontoon Six and the Hedgebrook Journal.


Coil the line down against the sun
the old timers said,
clockwise on deck,
and ten years later
my arms still breaststroke
the familiar movement
loop upon loop
rolling the line a quarter turn
against kinks,
feeling the resistance
give way in my hands,
stiff fibers yielding:
the line knows how to lay
if you let it.

Now all the old loops come back
and my hands swim
down the line by heart
and the line remembers
all its lives,
the past firm
in its fibers,
how they intertwine
coil upon coil
circling emptiness,
all to make way for the next.

Here are words of praise from Stan Sanvel Rubin, author of Hidden Sequel, winner of the Barrow Street Prize, and Peggy Shumaker, author of the forthcoming Just Breathe Normally, and Blaze:

~~~ Boxing the Compass
How do we find our way--on the open ocean, in love, in life?

For a navigator, philosophical questions have vital consequences. What is true? How do we find out where we’re going when as soon as we plot where we are, we’ve moved on? In these deft lyrics, Holly Hughes charts a course based in mystery, in the uncertainty of human attempts to know the earth and to comprehend this life. "How will she learn to ride the swell, let the earth curve her?" This poet’s Zen question opens us to possibilities as vast as the ocean.

~Peggy Shumaker

These smart, sensuous poems achieve a rare balance of knowledge, imagination, and memory, moving with a navigator’s skill through realms at once indelible and transient. Boxing the Compass offers a poet’s wisdom culled from vivid experience. Holly Hughes sails along the edge of worlds, alive to How we always fetch up/ somewhere other than we plan, and takes us with her, true to the magnetic pole of her own shifting heart.

--Stan Sanvel Rubin

You are invited to hear Holly Hughes read from her new book, along with finalists Marjorie Manwaring and John Glowney, on Tuesday, June 26 at 7:00 pm at Hugo House, 1634 Eleventh Ave on Seattle's Capital Hill. Free and open to the public. We will be in a celebratory mood!


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