Thursday, March 9, 2017

Poets and Poems: Angela Alaimo O’Donnell and “Still Pilgrim”

Still Pilgrim by poet Angela Alaimo O’Donnell unintentionally poses a question from the outset, and that question is the title, specifically the word “still.” Does it mean “continuing to be” a pilgrim, or does it mean still in the sense of quiet or motionless? Or perhaps both? Or can one imagine a comma and read it as a command, as in “Be still, pilgrim”?

Angela Alaimo O'Donnell
The word “pilgrim” doesn’t help answer the question. Americans still associate the word with settlers from England who settled in Massachusetts (and not the same as the Puritans). But a pilgrim can be anyone who takes a journey for reasons of reflection, escape from an unpleasant or dangerous environment, and spiritual experience and renewal like the Way of St. James de Compostela.

But once you begin reading the 57 poems of Still Pilgrim, the answer becomes clearer. This is the story of a life, a life understood as a pilgrimage, and a life in which even the smallest of events and experiences are grasped as part of the journey.

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

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