Monday Jun 24

Foerster Poetry Richard Foerster was born in the Bronx, New York, the son of German immigrants, and holds degrees in English literature from Fordham College and the University of Virginia. His eighth collection, Boy on a Doorstep: New and Selected Poems, will be published by Tiger Bark Press next spring. Foerster has been the recipient of numerous honors, including the “Discovery”/The Nation Award, Poetry magazine’s Bess Hokin Prize, a Maine Arts Commission Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, and two National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowships—as well as two Maine Literary Awards for Poetry. Since the 1980s, his work has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry, Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, The Gettysburg Review, Boulevard, The Southern Review, and Poetry. He has worked as a lexicographer, educational writer, typesetter, teacher, and editor of the literary magazines Chelsea and Chautauqua Literary Journal. For the last 32 years, he has lived on the coast of southern Maine.

Nocturne (with Incubus)

What’s this that roots
                        in bedrock,

this weight that clots
                        the air

and thrusts
                        its clamor

down in splintered

this naked song,
                        this sweat

that rains upon
                        and pocks

an alien soil,
                        this hornet’s

drone trapped

the brain—come then,
                        I’ll surrender,

rip night’s silk
                        from my body,

break me
                        like thunder

till I’m swept
                        in your cascade

beyond all need
                        of translation.

He Built a Cloister

He built a cloister from shattered stone
of an old order, a pillared peristyle,
hewn foursquare, with a fountain
at its center, in constant argument

against silence. Whenever he walked
around the water’s splintered light
he’d listen to his footfalls reverberate
up from within the uncharted quiet

between each step. He was tempted
to spend his remaining years like that,
in monkish counterpoint, immured
from the world’s savaged splendors

and seek at every turn some deep
perspective on the infinite—was then
the artesian flow began to chide him
in a voice sequestered beyond sound.

Octopus Jar, by Tim Christensen
            Portland Museum of Art

These cephalopods drift rooted in absence,
an ocean scraped away to chalk-white

ground; they are what the burin let remain:
fearsome black, a glaze of swirls;

theirs is the rhythm of chaos uncoiling
toward caress, and as quick entangling

any eye that would unknot their eight-
fold intimacies; try to counterclock

the potter’s spinning orbits of clay,
back to the leather-hard bisque,

the brushwork underglaze, the pure
pulp of being taking shape; then see

how they stare out at us, gesturing
from the first kiln of creation.