|There were books for sale, thanks to Catherine Fisher and Otter Books|
|Figs and truffles for the most discerning tastes|
|There was a happy audience|
|And a happy poet|
Around forty people came out to hear Susan read from her new collection which is housed is a slim, graceful volume that mimics the poetry inside.
The book is essentially a long poem, written in four parts—the four seasons. Jai-li, who Susan describes in the introduction as a "sort of everywoman" and whose name means "beauty" in Mandarin, is the philosopher feminine thread that shapes the poems. I'm not going to attempt to do any further analysis yet...one needs to spend time with the words, for lovely as they are—
III / 10
A snail shell stripped to beauty
on the school house stairs
curves into the mind of Jai-li.
The snail shrugged his house,
flesh no longer luminous,
the hard excess of his life
remains absolutely without
coral space as testament
shell of snail idea.
—they are always deeper than they may first appear.
I could, for example, spend a great deal of time contemplating and unraveling this:
III / 3
A philosopher's drunkenness,
heavy with nectar—
like a bee's contentment in the garden,
crumpled energy a jumble of generosity,
and pollen insurance
redeems wastrel ways.
or, finally (for now) this:
I / 7
A baby swims out of darkest sea
a cloud-kissed tiger tamer,
safe from eagles.
Susan Andrews Grace makes me think, and for that I'm eternally grateful.