Thursday, April 30, 2009

TEACHING THE ROBINS by Janice Townley Moore

Our feature of Janice Townley Moore as Poet of the Month (April 2009) ends today, but what will not end is a celebration of her poetry. I know of no other poet among us who writes greater poems of humanity, poems that are easily accessible with phrses and images that we remember long after reading the poem. --Naancy Simpson

TEACHING THE ROBINS by Janice Townley Moore

If it's true what the Chinese say,
souls can filter into birds like those
two robins outside my window,
swooping down. Their feet land
on March's early green
at the same moment I am teaching
Emily Dickison's grief,
my throat more taut from last year's losses
than the students slumped,
sleeping under lowered brims
of their baseball caps.
The robins stare in at me. They listen
to my voice hobbling over "tombs,"
"the feet, mechanical." They watch me
pacing forth and back befhind the panes.
The students sleep on in their numbness
where poetry does not exist
in the lighted arena of their dreams.
I think of all the dead,
how they do not have to worry
about being dead. This morning
life is on the other side of the window
where one robin remains
like an eye coprehending me,
long after the other dies.

Previously published in Prairie Schooner
and included as the title poem of

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT Janice Townley Moore's

Like all fine poets, Janice Towley Moore is a conjurer. Spectres are everywhere in these poems- from a flashlight on the cellar stairs to an out of body experience, from moonstruck deer to teachable robins, all renderd with the magic words exquisitely chosen. Her poems are deftly crafted, moving, and powerful - fortunately, they are easy to summon and savor now that we have this exceptional new collection.

--John Stone, author Music From Apartment 8

Teaching the Robins can be ordered from Finishing Line Press, or

Note: Teaching the Robins is a "Limited Collector's Edition".


Glenda said...

Janice is indeed an excellent poet who is known in the literary world and I'm so glad you featured Janice during Poetry Month.
We in Netwest appreciate her long time dedication to the poetry critique group that meets each month at Tri-County College. Many of us owe her a big Thank You.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

I really enjoy reading Janice's poetry. Her book, TEACHING THE ROBINS, is great. I'm so glad you have profiled her. Great job writing the article.
I hope you're feeling better, Nancy. Have a great weekend.

Tipper said...

I'm enjoying all of your poet profiles-cause I'm learning so much about folks I'm not familiar with-and reading so many great poems.