Essay By Robert Wrigley

Essay By Robert Wrigley-37
Out of the west the wind sets the bells of the Basilica moaning, weather’s moist finger on the rim of the champagne glass of God.

Out of the west the wind sets the bells of the Basilica moaning, weather’s moist finger on the rim of the champagne glass of God.

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For me, such connections have most often had to do with where I am, on the face of this lovely and beleaguered planet.

From that hard-rutted, high-line road, the dust billowed up like spindrift behind us, a cloud the color of my skin, slowly ghosting away.

And it is a fact that we usually exploded into such places like children, laughing, while the dust chased us along the road.

But there was one dry wash we stopped for: lake-sized, the pure dun from moth wings troweled smooth as glass.

In the Bank of Beautiful Sins won the San Francisco Poetry Center Book Award.

, one a quarter century or so ago, the other quite recently.to Robert Wrigley, Final Judge, for his insightful choice; and, most of all, congratulations to Erica Funkhouser.A NOTE FROM THE FINAL JUDGE “I’m fascinated by the formal deftness of these couplets—three per page of almost exactly the same length (without word-processing assistance)—which are, yes, a set of fence rails (and I love the invisible, stolid posts).Included in Sure Shot are three dramatic monologues in the voices of 19 century American women: Sacagawea, Louisa May Alcott, and Annie Oakley.The Oakley poem was adapted for the stage and produced by the Helicon Theatre Company in Los Angeles.Among other things, the first is about getting very dirty; the other is about the joy of clean laundry.But both are very much about the places in which they occur.I gather, from a later poem, that the poet may be a woman, but I’m not ready to bet yet.There’s something wonderful about that.” —Robert Wrigley, Final Judge 2017 ABOUT THE WINNING POET Erica Funkhouser’s most recent book of poems, Earthly, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April of 2008.“Dust” was written about the time I was, you might say, entering into the possibilities of rhyme (it was accepted, as many were in those days, by David Wagoner, to whom I offer my thanks); “Hanging Laundry On a Windy Day in Assisi,” was written in Italy this past May, and it suggests that those possibilities have stayed with me.Rilke said, “Rhyme is a goddess of secret and ancient coincidences,” and that strikes me as one of the finest things anyone’s ever said about a poetic technique.

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