Thursday, May 18, 2017

The James Laughlin Award: Mary Hickman and “Rayfish”

Rayfish by poet Mary Hickman received the 2016 James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, given to recognize an outstanding second collection by an American poet. It is a collection of 15 longish prose poems, each an ekphrastic poem inspired by a work of art, a cultural artifact, a photograph, and much more.

Mary Hickman
It is more than worthwhile to read these poems aloud; in fact, it may be mandatory. For it is only by reading them aloud that one finds the rhythm and pace of each poem, hears and experiences the drama building in the narrative, and even tastes the precision with which Hickman writes.

We find poems like “Still life with Rayfish,” inspired by a painting by the Russian artist Chaim Soutine (1893-1943) and a poem about the life of artist Andy Warhol. We read “I Have Had Many Near-Death Experiences,” based on a dance by the Japanese dancer Kazuo Ohno (1906-2010). We discover the poetry inspired by an invasive garden weed, hip replacement surgery, and open-heart surgery (Hickman worked in the medical field for a time). And the poetry of a photograph.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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