‘A Memory of the Future’
“A Memory of the Future” by Elizabeth Spires, a professor at Goucher
College, provides Zen-infused poetry that meditates on the second half of life, exploring the ways in which time changes a person and how memory and reflection upon one’s dwindling future can define a person. In “They Drive Through Childhood in Their Little Cars,” we witness life speeding by in cycles, “tripping through/days and weeks and years” unable to apply the brakes. Spires optimistically proposes that “gray is the most beautiful color” in the foggy title poem. She writes that as one grows older, “there should be fewer/and fewer words to say,” but as this book shows, she still has plenty of meaningful words to share.
“4:30 Movie” by Donna Masini delves into the poet’s loss of her beloved sister to cancer while exploring how movies can affect how we see reality. Lamenting the uncontrollable in “Waiting Room,” she muses how “One day you’re drinking your first martini/a minute later you’re roaming/some hospital wing.” Humor makes the somber book palatable. In “Deleted Scene: Last Day,” her sister says, “I’m sorry it’s taking so long./You must be bored to death.” More than grief-infused tribute, the collection has a message: “Do not lean on ample time.”
“A Dog Runs Through It”
“A Dog Runs Through It” by Linda Pastan, a former poet laureate of Maryland and two-time National Book Award finalist, is for dog lovers and poetry lovers alike. In “Rivermist: for Roland Flint,” junk mail from a kennel conjures memories of losses: “I could have wept, thinking of rivers and mists.” Her poem, “The Art of the Dog” imagines the pets in paintings by Cassatt, Picasso, Velazquez, Renoir and Van Eyck “with the unleashed sound of barking” echoing in museums. This collection is as much about life and death as it is about pets.
The Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day podcast is perfect for people who
prefer their poetry by podcast. Every day, the podcast features the reading of another poem. Listen at poetryfoundation.org/podcasts.