Greetings and welcome to Poets on Display during National Poetry Month/Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. I’m doing a poetry theme, so each day this month I feature poets from the book Sunrise Summits: A Poetry Anthology, which was recently selected as a finalist for the 2017 Colorado Book Awards in the anthology category (information about the awards can be found by Clicking Here).
It’s an honor for me to continue to share the work of those who contributed to Northern Colorado Writers first poetry anthology and to have this work selected as an award finalist. The poets included are a shining example of the talent found in Northern Colorado Writers, LLC.
The poem posted below is not from the anthology. This way you get a wider read of each poet’s work. It’s been a challenge to get the poems to fit the letter theme, but I think I’ve worked it out. I hope you enjoy what you read here.
Today’s Poem: Holding On by Lorrie Wolfe
They come out of the shtetl in swarms, in black frock coats, headscarves, long skirts.
They come alone holding only what they can fit into a carpet bag.
Whole families come with their lives packed into one trunk.
They stack into tenements, sweatshops, and night schools.
They make silk flowers for ladies hats at two cents apiece; they sew piecework
and sweat at forges.
They hoard pennies until they can bring the next relative to sleep in a shared bed.
They crowd into hovels where the poorest boarders spend nights on thin mattresses stretched between two kitchen chairs.
They come to America, a diaspora to the Lady with the Torch.
They toss away karakul shapkas and buy pushcart derbies.
They hold on to the sounds of the old tongue, form safe enclaves of familiarity
with signs in two languages.
They leave behind villages, possessions, and parents.
They bury the memory of what drove them to escape.
Their children bridge two worlds, dress like Americans, and are too preoccupied with
fitting in to notice
they have no history.
Their grandchildren earn MBAs and MFAs, join the swim team and the PTA.
They all hold onto the vision of success at whatever expense.
Yet each feels an anomie they can’t explain.
Rootless, disjointed, their deepest longings drift
like dandelion seeds in the wind.
Holding on to the past
holding out for the future
makes the present tense
Lorrie Wolfe’s 2013 chapbook, Holding: from Shtetl to Santa, explores themes of family, immigration, and Lorrie’s cultural journey ranging from the biblical exodus from Egypt up to her current marriage to Santa Claus. Her work has appeared in Earth’s Daughters, Pooled Ink, Pilgrimage, Tulip Tree Review, Progenitor, and has received prizes from Columbine Poets and the Poetry Society of Colorado. Lorrie was named the Poet of the Year at the Denver Ziggies Poetry Festival for 2014-2015. When she is not writing poetry, Lorrie is a technical writer, an editor and a consultant on organizational development. She lives in Windsor, CO.
(My apologies to Lorrie and you, the reader. The formatting for this poem stretched beyond my limited posting abilities. The small changes do not affect the quality of this poem.)
Note: On May 1, 2017 I’ll be drawing one winner to receive a copy of Sunrise Summits: A Poetry Anthology. Each day you visit and leave a comment, you’ll earn one entry for the drawing. (Only one entry per day can be earned, regardless of number of visits/comments) That’s a potential of 30 entries for the drawing! Winner to be announced on this blog on May 1, 2017.
Click Here to purchase Sunrise Summits: A Poetry Anthology