Letters

My body holds fear

Asked by: J., Sheffield, UK

Answered by: Kazim Ali

J., Sheffield, UK

Sometimes it feels like my body holds fears from decades and generations
back, fears that are even scared of a well-meant antidote – can you suggest a poem
that might break through this tussle?
J


KA: 

Often times the poems we read describe experiences—emotional or
narrative—rather than enact them, in either sound or image. I love a poem that does
not describe, but really at the level of syllable and sound, vowel and consonant, can
help the reader feel something.

Jean Valentine is just such a poet for me. This poem is one of my favorites because
it enacts a model of care and love that exists beyond time, and it does so with the
simplest and most whimsical of images.

Mare and Newborn Foal

When you die
there are bales of hay
heaped high in space
mean while
with my tongue
I draw the black straw
out of you
mean while
with your tongue
you draw the black straw out of me.

-Jean Valentine

Asked by: E., Somewhere, USA

Answered by: Andrew Whiteman

Asked by: Bubbles, Durban, South Africa

Answered by: Andrew Whiteman

Asked by: Anonymous, Santa Cruz, USA

Answered by: Andrew Whiteman

Asked by: Anonymous, Ontario, Canada

Answered by: Kristin Prevallet

Asked by: C.E.L., Tallinn, Estonia

Answered by: Kristin Prevallet

Asked by: L, Lenox, USA

Answered by: Kristin Prevallet