The 20th anniversary issue of 580 Split is now live, and you can read my poem here. The entire issue is beautiful.

this time last year

As I was clicking through old drafts & applications of mine, I found the poetic statement I wrote for my Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship exactly one year ago.

Having to write statements are useful exercises. I could never hand you an "about-ness" for my writing, but a statement forces me to look at how I look, which magically always leads me to look with a newness. 

It felt fitting to both share the statement, & finally launch my site, which has been a good six slow months in the making. 

Please visit again & stay in contact: caroline.connor.poetry @ gmail

Caroline O'Connor Thomas
poetic statement I

At the pith, language lusts peculiarly for the real, & would sooner draw blood than be ironized into oblivion. That I am female should not matter, though it seems to.

These are my materials, which others might have hemmed from me: Hunger (i.e. desire,) the thirsting Californian aquifer, female fluids, the sex & noise of our bodies together, homelessness, death.

Overhead, bus wires clip the city sky back. A bouquet of flowers comes wrapped in cellophane, then paper, & then a rubber band. We watch the neon of parrots race across the Embarcadero, their squabbling drowned by the bass of a Rihanna song from a passing car.

These are my materials.

Occasionally I regret that I have little time for nostalgia. But I’ve willingly witnessed every Kardashian spin-off, Trump-era press conference, & know the potential double-speak of emoji usage.

Like Keats’ grecian urn ecstasy, or Coleridge’s alpenglow trembling, ingesting is experiencing. Though now, the ancient & holy devices of sincerity & enthusiasm feel threatening as a knife. Still the satellite of my open face receives & filters, in stupefied awe of the landscape where I’m located. It could be eco-poetry, but it isn’t. The raw & specific terror of pop culture weds the I absent of distinction from you, & strikes out into an open neo-romantic field.  

The small event-ness of each poem should find the blade not only an actual blade, but the boundary where its actuality meets mythos. Here, the blade is a tool used to protect, to (pro)create, to slice open the belly of something mammalian & warm, so that we too may know feast.

Written for 2017 Ruth Lily Fellowship application
San Francisco Botanical Garden Library, April 30th, 2017 11: 11 AM

Caroline O'Connor Thomas