Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Word from the Corner - Ilya Kaminsky

The Word from the Corner
posted on North Andover Poets Corner 5/19/2019

I don't write many political or protest poems, just a few. Given what's going on these days, everything I write should go that way. I've been listening to The Slowdown, a poetry podcast hosted by outgoing US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Besides picking cool poems, she has a great voice and delivery. 

Here's one that Tracy read from earlier this year. A good poem can make you feel alive. A good poem can also make you dissatisfied with yourself. For me, this one hit on the latter. It's by Ilya Kaminsky. He came to this country from Russia in 1993 when he was 16, when his family was granted political asylum.  He now teaches creative writing at San Diego State. He has a local connection as a faculty member at The Frost Place Conference on Poetry, in Franconia, NH.

When I post a poem, I always say "Enjoy" although in this case, I'm not sure if that's the right word. But here it is.


We Lived Happily During The War

by Ilya Kaminsky

And when they bombed other people’s houses, we


but not enough, we opposed them but not

enough. I was

in my bed, around my bed America

was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house⏤

I took a chair outside and watched the sun.

In the sixth month

of a disastrous reign in the house of money

in the street of money in the city of money in the country of money,

our great country of money, we (forgive us)

lived happily during the war.


"We Lived Happily During The War," from DEAF REPUBLIC by Ilya Kaminsky.

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