Sam RasnakeHistorically, many poets have written for, about, and to the body – a perfect focus for creative endeavors. Three favorites I return to from time to time are William Carlos Williams’ “Danse Russe,” Lucille Clifton’s “homage to my hips,” and Jane Hirshfield’s “A Hand” – which I quote here:“A hand is not four fingers and a thumb. Nor is it palm and knuckles, not ligaments or the fat's yellow pillow, not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins. A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines with their infinite dramas, nor what it has written, not on the page, not on the ecstatic body. Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping— not sponge of rising yeast-bread, not rotor pin's smoothness, not ink. The maple's green hands do not cup the proliferant rain. What empties itself falls into the place that is open. A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question. Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs.”– Jane Hirshfield, “A Hand,” published in Given Sugar, Given Salt (HarperCollins, 2001)
The twenty-five poets included in this special issue have their own unique approaches to that most intimate of possibilities – the body. I’m proud of their work. I’m staggered by their words. I’m spurred on to take up pen and scribble away. Maybe you will be too.
Current Issue - Winter 2010