The Eyes of a Flounder: Poetry

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9781560851882: The Eyes of a Flounder: Poetry

Laura Hamblin writes of good mothers and bad, women who married and those who didn't, lovers and "Celibacy at Forty-two." Her "weird sisters" forage for mice and toads and contemplate silicone implants. Some of her characters demonstrate pregnancy envy, while others seem content to share a space with three dogs and a cat.

She muses on the different roles assigned to girls and boys: "boys with shellacked / faces play basketball. / Closer to god ... / they know power, / ... I begin to bleed, / am taught with the other / girls to crochet, to knit / ... Dark skein / unraveling girl."

Contemplative and satisfying, Hamblin's observations on religion are particularly poignant, such as watching her son baptized at eight to "wash from him sins he did not commit." One of her weird sisters attempts repentance but then thinks of killing swine. Playful, full of meaning, her poems contain overlapping layers of understanding that prompt further contemplation.

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About the Author:

Laura Hamblin is a professor of English at Utah Valley State College, where she received the 2002 Faculty Excellence Award. She also received the 1997 Eisteddfod Crown for Poetry from Brigham Young University and First Place Award in 2003 in the Utah Original Writing Competition. Her poems have been published in Green Fuse, Pegasus, Petroglyph, River Styx, Sequel, Red Rock Review, Sunstone, Wisconsin Review, and elsewhere, and her critical essays have appeared in A Companion to Jane Austen Studies and Natural History, among others. In 2003 she participated in an International Education Exchange to Hyderabad, India. She lives in Hobble Creek Canyon east of Utah Valley.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

 Dog Star

Panting at Orion’s heel with an eye out
for Lepus. At your helical setting,
farmers sow beans, lucern, millet;
at your rising, you flood
the Nile. Luminous and serious,
heralding sunrise to the east,
light becomes visible when you set.
In and out of the Milky Way,
your baleful barking dries
up the body. Canicular days, you bicker
in a stellar blue and white.
Scorning, tremulous wave
of light, we cut the heart of a fawn-
colored dog at your festival three
times a year—to ensure the blossom
of fruit, to avert mildew and rust,
to hallow our fat harvest. What
others mistake for a silent sky
is the trough of the wave of your howl.

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