Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Poem-of-the-Week: Jeffrey McDaniel

Air Empathy

On the red-eye from Seattle, a two-year-old

in the seat behind me screeches

his miniature guts out. Instead of dreaming

of stuffing a wad of duct tape into his mouth,

I envy him, how he lets his pain spurt

into the open. I wish I could drill

a pipeline into the fields of ache, tap

a howl. How long would I need to sob

before the lady beside me dropped

her fashion rag, dipped a palm

into the puddle of me? How many

whimpers before another passenger

joined in? Soon the stewardess

hunched over the drink cart, the pilot

gushing into the controls, the entire plane:

an arrow of grief quivering through the sky.

-Jeffrey McDaniel

from The Endarkenment (University of Pittsburgh Press 2008). Used by permission.

Jeffrey McDaniel is the author of four books of poetry, most recently The Endarkenment (University of Pittsburgh Press). His work has appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry 1994, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. He has won several awards, including an NEA Fellowship. He teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Jeffrey lived and wrote in Washington DC throughout the 1990s, working for DC WritersCorps and co-hosting a mainstage poetry series at the Black Cat called Blabbermouth Night. He studied at George Mason University, where he edited Phoebe and was active in Poetry Theater. He represented DC at the National Poetry Slam from 1993 to 1995.

McDaniel will be featured at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 10-13, 2010 in Washington, DC. The festival will present readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, activism—four days of creative transformation as we imagine a way forward, hone our community and activist skills, and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for social change. For more information:

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem-of-the-Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

Split This Rock


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