"News Of" and "News Of: Codicils" comprise the first section of For. The "Codicils" (this is a term for addenda to a legal document) have appeared in the letterpress chapbook Breath As: Short Poems and in Colorado Review (ah, Colorado), but never yet with their "News Of." That poem was written in December 1989 after the gunning down of seven(?) women on a Canadian college campus, it could not resolve (me) -- though as accountant daughter of a C.P.A., I fancied the use of 'reconciled' -- and the "Codicils" followed, written and assembled -- some were extracts from longer poems -- more slowly. Of course, the sections are arranged as a sequence. But I also intended that any codicil section could be read separately in response to "News Of" (like a "Responsive Reading" in Temple), modifying it in a singular way.

A new poem, "Uses of Italics" (out in the next Five Fingers Review), tries to explain why the first line of each "Codicil" is italicized: as "musical reference" to the single-line stanzas opening/titling each of Mary Barnard's Sappho translations and (even more obscurely) to the sound of Responsive Readings themselves (or the Pledge of Allegiance, "Happy Birthday," etc.) -- a ragged, "vibrant" entrance until our many variations on assuredness and hesitation settle into one voice.

I cannot speak to how often the "News Of" poems have new relevance.


Two Poems:

News Of

News Of: Codicils




another massacre; and the clean bright morning.
Keeping walking. 'Contradiction' is human -- I know that.
And 'knowing'... A stirring from the place the whirlwind -- something like
fear -- arises, and watching my breath

to still that. Suddenly thinking somewhere in the breath -- along
the breath, is an understood place. Somewhere -- but somewhere
in passing -- where the matter is reconciled.


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Too many things

one must know -- so many --

a place on the breath for each? each passing?
(its turning -- breath's inmost
turning, my Love --

for delight -- )


And another


"massacre of the innocents."

And that there is a form
even for that.


Breath as


tidal -- ardor... fervor... horror... as moon --


What comfort?


There was a moment


of blessing, calm.
Though it was a pause, a hiatus.



"... then what felt like a whirlwind


had risen up
in me, such that

little was spared."


News of


the unbearable, happening.

Breath saying Now, now.



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BIO: Carol Snow's first book, Artist and Model, was a National Poetry Series selection and received the 1990 Poetry Center Book Award. Her second collection, For, will be published by the University of California Press in Spring 2000. Two letterpress chapbooks are available from Em Press; new work is forthcoming in Five Fingers Review, Fourteen Hills, and New American Writing.


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