“Water Path from Frog Pond to the Assabet” by Lynne Viti

Water Path from Frog Pond to the Assabet Image Creative Commons Wiki

Ignore the overturned canoe on the lawn.
Don’t linger studying the lily pads on the green pond today.
Focus instead on the water, on where it’s headed.

The highway thrums in the distance. Here, Queen Anne’s lace
sprouts from cracks in the cement embankment.

Walk around two metal chairs placed at a ten-foot distance from a third
as though a couple came for psychotherapy, then left
by a path through the woods. Do not take that path.

There’s another way from here, by water from the pond
into a lower level, a rill that leads somewhere you haven’t been,
through tall grasses, under a stone footbridge.

Let those souls driving on the Interstate keep driving towards something
they believe will make them whole again, revive them
bring them hope like the hope sung by the grasshopper sparrow
whose staccato notes follow you from pond to stream.

A lone cicada tunes up early for August’s insect orchestra.
Keep following the water path from farm to stream,
from stream to brook, on at last

to the grasslands where the sparrows breed,
where the dragon and damselflies dance above the river.

Old Frog Pond Farm Plein Air Anthology (2018)

 

Bio:
Lynne Viti, a senior lecturer emerita at Wellesley College, is the author of Baltimore Girls (2017) and The Glamorganshire Bible (2018 ) (Finishing Line Press), and the forthcoming Dancing at Lake Montebello (Apprentice House Press).

 

Read More by Lynne Viti at:

Lynne’s Blog

 

© The Literary Librarian 2020

All images public domain

“Latecomer” by Lynne Viti

Latecomer Image

Last to class, I spread my mat on a spot just inside the studio.
I roll off the mat, nudge it away from the stream of cold air
coming in through the space between floor and door.

Leave my sweatshirt and socks on until we finish neck rolls
until we finish side stretches until we’ve finished pelvic tilts
until we’re going up in bridge pose.

The draft from the hallway no longer concerns me,
the frigid air outside the building no longer concerns me
the ache of grief, fresh or old no longer concerns me.

I sit in sukhasana and bend forward slowly, deliberately, till
I reach my edge. I pose and repose, I switch legs.
That my nose does not touch my ankles no longer concerns me.

When I lie against the wall in viparita karani
when I count the breaths in /out I forget that I was late.
Here is the place of ease, the place of comfort, the place of peace.

After class, sitting in my car, I know I should hold on to
that state of not holding on to anything.
Not switch on the car radio to grasp news. Not check my phone.

Fat snowflakes fall onto my windshield.
The sunless day stirs joy in my heart.

 

Grey Borders Magazine April 2018

Bio:
Lynne Viti, a senior lecturer emerita at Wellesley College, is the author of Baltimore Girls (2017) and The Glamorganshire Bible (2018 ) (Finishing Line Press), and the forthcoming Dancing at Lake Montebello (Apprentice House Press).

 

Read More by Lynne Viti at:

Lynne’s Blog

 

© The Literary Librarian 2020

All images public domain

“Jamaica Plain” by Lynne Viti

Jamaica Plain Image - Creative Commons Wiki

At a group house down the block from the old stables,
a shambles, derelict— gentrification a long way off—
You said you grew up on an island. I said
my city was full of dying steel mills and railroads.

When the flu had you down for weeks,
I figured you lost my number,
You recovered, you relapsed.
My friends said he’s not healthy enough for you.
You mailed me a ticket to a baseball game, said to meet you there.

I made coffee in my galley kitchen Sunday morning.
We went to the movies, to a bar, had a couple of pints,
went to my place, made a frittata with artichokes.
I stood behind you, watched you wash the dishes.

When the door closed behind you I couldn’t believe my luck.
I recalled the feeling of your hands firm around my lower ribs,
like you were pressing my heart upwards so you might take it.

 

Bio:
Lynne Viti, a senior lecturer emerita at Wellesley College, is the author of Baltimore Girls (2017) and The Glamorganshire Bible (2018 ) (Finishing Line Press), and the forthcoming Dancing at Lake Montebello (Apprentice House Press).

 

Read More by Lynne Viti at:

Lynne’s Blog

 

© The Literary Librarian 2020

All images public domain

Interview: An Interview with Poet Lynne Viti

Book Name and Description:  Baltimore Girls (2017)

Baltimore Girls - Lynne Viti (1)

The Glamorganshire Bible (forthcoming 2018) poetry collection with a focus on my maternal grandmother, and my mother’s family in Cumberland Maryland and Baltimore from the late 19th century through the 1950’s. 

Available on Amazon for Print: Click Here.

 

What gave you the idea for Baltimore Girls?

About six years ago, I joined several poetry workshops at the Boston Public Library, with poet Sam Cornish, then poet laureate of the City of Boston. Some of the prompts Sam gave us inspired me to write about my family. Sam entered one of my family poems in a juried competition, and my work was selected for an exhibit at Boston City Hall.  Sam encouraged me to begin sending out my work, and I was astonished at the result—within three years I had three dozen poems accepted for publication, and had won two poetry prizes.

 

What got you into writing in this genre?

The short answer is that two of my high school teachers, Sister Augusta Reilly, RSM and Sister Carol Wheeler, RSM, inspired me. They required me to write poetry as part of a Creative English class in my senior year of high school. I wrote in college and into my twenties, and published a few poems. But it was only after my children were grown and on their own that I wandered back into writing.

 

Tell us about your past books and stories?

In the beginning of my late-in-life writing career, which began about five years ago, I wrote mostly about the deep past. Lately I have situated my work more in the present, often with poems about nature or people I observe in the moment.

 

What is the writing process like for you? What is your writing day like? What have been the biggest influences on your writing?

I try to write a poem a day, as my best poet-friend Heather Bryant does, but I rarely meet that challenge. I am a teacher, and during the school year, there is so little time, so I don’t write each morning, as I do in summer and on semester breaks. My goal is to write a poem a week. If I can do that, and if I can revise until I’m satisfied with the poem, I feel I am being as productive as I can be.

Biggest influences range from the poets I studied in school—Donne, Yeats, Plath, Lowell, Sexton, William Carlos Williams, Spender, Auden, Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsberg, —to contemporary poets, both obscure and famous. My current favorites are Alice Notley, Louise Gluck, and Frank Bidart.

 

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

In my twenties, I was so self-focused  and the poetry was  hard for almost anyone else to relate to. Now I think—I hope— that my work has a broader appeal—across genders, ages, countries.

 

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?    

That room of one’s own to retreat to, as Virginia Woolf said. Some notebooks. A few first readers who will give honest feedback on early drafts. A day job, to pay for food, shelter—and those reading fees. A small, faithful audience of readers who will buy your books and show up for your readings. Venues for reading one’s work—libraries, book clubs, coffee shops that hold poetry readings, community centers, poetry festivals.

 

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

You have to believe in your work. Once you’ve revised and revised and know it’s as done as it will ever be, send it out. If it’s rejected by a publication, send it out again. And again. If you receive feedback from an editor, take it to heart, see if more revising might be in order. Eventually, it will find a home.

 

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

Poets and Writers, Facebook groups listing submissions opportunities, writers groups, workshops, libraries, open mics, suggestions from fellow poets.

 

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

Right now, I’m most proud of the first section of my forthcoming collection, The Glamorganshire Bible, the poems that focus on my grandmother and her Welsh forebears.

 

For those who haven’t read any of your stories, what story/book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?

For fiction, “Tony Bennett, Aldous Huxley, and Eddie,” my short story, published in Connections Literary Magazine. I think I capture what it was like for people in their late teens just as the late ‘Sixties  were blowing the doors off traditional sexual mores.

For poetry, Baltimore Girls.

 

What are you doing next?

I’m working on a set of poems about the summer and the winter solstices and the way in which gardens reflect these points in the calendar year. I’m especially interested in light and darkness and their effect on human emotions.

 

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Send out your work. Read it aloud in any venue that will have you. Ask for feedback. Enjoy participating that great body of human effort we call poetry.

 

Bio:

Lynne Viti is a senior lecturer in the Writing Program at Wellesley College. Her first chapbook, Baltimore Girls, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017.  Her second, The Glamorganshire Bible, will be released in early 2018. Her writing has appeared most recently in The Maynard, I Come from the World, The Thing Itself, Stillwater Review, Bear Review, In-Flight Magazine, Tin Lunchbox, Lost Sparrow, and South Florida Poetry Journal.   She was awarded Honorable Mentions in the 2015 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Competition and the 2017 Concrete Wolf Louis Chapbook competition, and was named a finalist in the 2016 Grey Borders Wanted Works Poetry Chapbook Contest. She blogs at stillinschool.wordpress.com.

 

Links:

Lynne’s WordPress

Wellesley Writing Program

Baltimore Girls on Amazon

 

© The Literary Librarian 2017