November 2017

NOT AS ONE who knows the ground

          by Joan Houlihan


NOT AS ONE who knows the ground

but woken to a standing,

Ay rose and held as bird would hold          

for want of weather, flight.                

Far, the hard light grew.                    

The us were down in sleep.

Fire blacked away.

None would know me

colding there. Ay stood and stept

as calf that has no mother-side,

as a weak thing made, then fell

and lay in a smaller place to wait.    

Where a noise had been

Ay let a quiet in.


From Ay, Tupelo Press, 2014


Joan Houlihan is the author of five books of poetry including Shadow-feast, forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2018. Her other books are: Ay (2014), The Us (2009), The Mending Worm, winner of the 2005 Green Rose Award from New Issues Press and Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays (2003). She has taught at Columbia University, Emerson College and Smith College and serves on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is also Professor of Practice in Poetry at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Houlihan founded and directs the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.