This afternoon’s poetry matineé finds Joannie Stangeland at our podium for the launch of her latest collection, In Both Hands, published by Ravenna Press. A resident of Seattle, she is also the author of Into the Rumored Spring, Weathered Steps, and A Steady Longing for Flight, which won the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Crab Creek Review, Iota, Painted Bride Quarterly, and other publications, as well as in the Rose Alley Press anthologies Limbs of the Pine, Peaks of the Range and Many Trails to the Summit. Joannie Stangeland’s In Both Hands is a volume threaded with earth and myth, both mysterious and grounded. “Is this book a healing– ” writes Sarah Vap, “or is this book a rending. It is perfectly and painfully both.”
“Testing the Atmosphere”
The sky might fall, if not
for the bare branch tangle rising
from the neighbor’s yard.
The sky might sweep east
across the Pacific,
slip down inside this house.
Where is the blue vase,
the sprays of alstromeria?
Where is the snow on the wires?
You lean on air to bring you comfort
in this dawn too pale and clouded
for stars. Where are the birds?
Why did the train leave Gare de Lyon,
with sun still playing off the wings
darting among the station’s rafters?
In that memory, the sky is brilliant.
The morning is a hurry, no time
for songs or murals of Le Train Bleu.
Here, in your own country,
you surrender gladly to quiet
before the robins wake. The sky
might fill this room with infinity—
if you can’t see the end,
that’s just as good as forever.