Friday, May 13, 2005

American Life in Poetry: Column 007

Leonard Nathan is a master of short poems in which two or three figures are placed on what can be seen to be a stage, as in a drama. Here, as in other poems like it, the speaker's sentences are rich with implications. This is the title work from Nathan's book from Orchises Press (1999):

The Potato Eaters

Sometimes, the naked taste of potato
reminds me of being poor.

The first bites are gratitude,
the rest, contented boredom.

The little kitchen still flickers
like a candle-lit room in a folktale.

Never again was my father so angry,
my mother so still as she set the table,

or I so much at home.

Reprinted by permission of the author, whose most recent book is "Tears of the Old Magician," Orchises Press, 2003. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

1 comment:

franzgeistworm said...

Leonard Nathan's four last books, _The Potato Eaters, Tears of the Old Magician, Restarting the World_ and _Ragged Sonnets_ are masterpiece of contemporary verse, quietly moving, beautifully thought through, and put into exquisite volumes by the publisher. One day you'll say you read him when.