Strange Land, Sharon Krau's second book of poems, chronicles the life of a woman embarking on marriage and contemplating the possibility of motherhood. The poems wrestle with the narrator's childhood, fraught with violence and ambivalence, and work to reconcile her past with the course of her future. From the Ice Child of the Andes to a pigeon lost in a New York City subway station, the imagery driving the poems is constantly surprising, and is underpinned with humor and reverence. These are rigorous poems that take nothing for granted - every emotion is interrogated, every resolution is contingent.
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Sharon Kraus's poems have appeared in TriQuarterly, Agni, Georgia Review, Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West, Barrow Street, and other journals. Her awards include fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Editors' Choice award from Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. She teaches at Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
This morning as I gave the ivy
a half-turn on the sill
so that none of the limbs
might falter, light-starved,
I remembered the other agony,
the aching turn toward the source,
each time I lie down
in bed with my mother
and try to touch her--
She's home from the ward. I've come back to her
just ripened, the first seeds
bursting from the stalk of me
as I lift the blanket and
curve my form to hers. She's lying on her side.
I touch just her arm
--If only I'd thumbed the arc of the eyelashes,
if I had lightly grazed the down of her thigh,
even ah the sweet juncture of my mother's members--
She has so lately come from Death. Like the good child she
swallowed His pills, let Him feel a breast. How else
shall I win her
back to this world? How
but through my kisses on her calves and wrists, each
motion of kiss forgiving a slap or a rending,
have I ever woken my mother back into her body?
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