Joannie Stangeland

THE SCENE YOU SEE, Joannie Stangeland. Ravenna Press, PO Box 1166, Edmonds, WA 98020, 2018, 60 pages, $14.95 paper,

The Scene You See is Stangeland’s fourth poetry collection. It is luminous. Stangeland draws from the world of painting, capturing color and line (and texture and scent and…) and paying homage to numerous artists. (“Cast an eye for shadows” she writes in “Self-Portrait, if I Were Lebasque.”) But the poems here also pay homage to the gifts of marriage and shared meals and glasses of wine. It made me feel strangely grateful for the ordinary, for the chance to stay at home all afternoon and read. Which I seem to be doing a lot of. (Like you.)

Be sure to check our Stangeland’s blog and her Saturday poetry picks.

Our Bodies Given up for Light

An inch no longer measured by a thumb,
a foot for walking only–
old artifacts abandoned.

Particle and wave, what is the shape
of essential undulations
to which distance now is tethered, and time?

Its lambent body pummels me from the sun,
glistening minutes
shattered on the sand.

What is the shape of love?
Like a turtle pressing
slowly toward the lettuce,

a smooth river stone–or is it the river,
so often standing in for time
rushing over the rocks

like the horse galloping across a field–
or is it riding the horse, the wind in her mane,
in your hair, almost like flying?

Is love a peach, the fuzz a soft burr
in your hand? Or can you not hold love,
the fog that runs through your fingers?


3 replies
  1. jmayer
    jmayer says:

    The essence of this reminds me of Rachel Boast taking up Rimbaud’s challenge in Void Studies. The idea was to summon the spirit of the object rather than speak of the object itself. Joannie and I might have something to talk about.

    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      I heard Joannie give a craft talk at It’s About Time in Ballard, a few years ago, and I have been thinking about it ever since. You would have lots to talk about.


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  1. […] and is through West Seattle’s PoetryBridge Community. She will share featured poet position with Joannie Stangeland (whose book was included in last April’s blog round-up). There is an open mic right after the […]

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