Over the course of its 30 plus years of existence, Artful Dodge has been proud to feature a variety of writers, both emerging talents and seasoned professionals. One such writer is Lynn Powell, poet and creative writing professor at Oberlin College. Her latest book, Season of the Second Thought, won the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, and will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press this November. One of the poems featured in this upcoming collection found its first home with Artful Dodge many years ago! “October Edge” was first published in Artful Dodge 44/45.
Mapless and skidding again on a backroad prickly with teasels
and the skeletons of lace, you glimpse a non sequitur
of nirvana: a woman in wings on the sidewalk stoop
of The Church of the One True Freedom.
She glances up from an open book—
But you will not brake today for grace.
You round the reckless curve, past outbursts of orange with no faces
forced yet on them, past bins and barrels of crimson wholesale fruit,
and tombstones disheveled in the drizzle, staggering after
their long-lost ballast of grief—
the blurred signs vanishing like everything else
in the hindsight horizon, and the black tires committing
your incendiary heart farther, faster, out past the charred trunks of the
the miles of martyrs with feet held fast
to the banked flames of their own making.
I love how this poem, particularly the second stanza, captures the paradox of October. There are both “outbursts of orange” and “disheveled…drizzle.” I have often heard the expression that autumn is a time of change, and Powell has captured the in between-season anxiety of that transformation so well. That, paired with the image of a woman wearing wings and “the miles of martyrs,” makes this poem beautiful and engaging.
To read more about Lynn Powell’s latest book and how you can buy your very own copy this fall, click here.
On behalf of everyone here at Artful Dodge, Congratulations, Lynn!
–Megan Murphy, Assistant Editor