- Moving inkblots: Interpreting images of immigration | Migration Studies | Oxford Academic
- KIRKUS REVIEW
- Steal Away: Selected and New Poems
- The poetry of migration
Moving inkblots: Interpreting images of immigration | Migration Studies | Oxford Academic
It moves between narrative and music, between aura and the most grounded reality. Many of the poems linger as sound as much as image. Some are achingly immediate. The poems invite the reader to become part of the process. Trust the free fall of Sheila Packa's voice and imagination. This is the mystery and power of her work. Midwest Book Review writes: The changing of seasons, the changing of life seems to move so much faster in the north. Cloud Birds is a collection of poetry from Shelia Packa, a Finnish American woman who calls Minnesota home, viewing the changing of nature and life as she sees it and always moving.
Cloud Birds is an excellent compilation of poetry driven by both humanity and the beauty and uncertainty of nature. For more information about the book, see Sheila's blog. To purchase Cloud Birds online see: Several of the poems explore the stories of women's intersections with God.
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It's a love story as well as a story about migration and change. Ellie Schoenfeld, author of The Dark Honey , writes: They bring us to the exact moment when we surrender to our truest selves, when we allow ourselves to be transported, transformed, resurrected. These poems by Sheila Packa evoke all the senses to come to attention - so you don't miss a single, heightened note.
Written to be read to the voice of the cello, the experience of reading them to yourself is like swimming in very deep water at night! Anyone who has ever visited Northern Minnesota can identify with the expert metaphors and beautiful repetition of sounds of The Mother Tongue. The collection is divided into three sections, The Mother Tongue--narrative poems about her youth; Torrent--erotic love poems clearly influenced by the poet's past and homeland; and Fluency--narrative poems about finding love, both romantic and platonic.
Describing herself as a "daughter of love," Sheila Packa transcribes her experiences coming of age and finding love in Minnesota's rural mining community. Packa sees herself as part of her surroundings toiling deep in the heart of an iron mine, professing her love to her Iron Range boyfriend, taking a dip in the rust-colored "Wine Lake.
This 3-part collection includes 28 erotic poems, which sweep the reader up by surprise, interspersed with Packa's reflections about growing up as the daughter of a Finnish mother while living in the economically stressed region of the Iron Range. Press Available in bookstores. Press, Midwest Book Review writes: The Mother Tongue published by Calyx Press but available through Wildwood River Press inquire by email Anyone who has ever visited Northern Minnesota can identify with the expert metaphors and beautiful repetition of sounds of The Mother Tongue.
And I have aligned my own poetry, most of the time, with incrementalism, with a way of reading that like W. Trump enjoys the wrong kind of rococo: I also wanted my poetry to champion the femme, the elaborate, the playful, the serifed, the feathered, the self-consciously involute, the magenta and the chartreuse, even the ornamental: I wanted that poetry, and other contemporary poetry too, to take pleasure in small things, and to push back against a patriarchal, instrumental, coarse, results-first, adult-driven, queer- and transphobic capitalism.
Our president-elect appears to enjoy the rococo, too, but it is the wrong kind of rococo: Trump represents the end of liberalism, the end of self-restraint and public kindness delivered through flawed, long-lived institutions, at least on a national scale.
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It is possible to imagine human progress—to imagine that we can make things better—and it is possible to imagine historical continuity—a future along the same lines as the recent past—but it is no longer possible for me to hold in mind both things at once. Nor is it possible for me to imagine that our institutions, long held up by tacit norms of professionalism and ethics, are likely to heal themselves.
Steal Away: Selected and New Poems
I believe, too, that the role of a poetry critic is in part conservatorial: And if it is wrong to be a poetry critic in the age of Trump, it is also wrong to be a classical musician, a graphic designer, or an ancient historian. But what kind of poetry critic, and what kind of writer, do I want to be? How do I view the poems of today, or the day before yesterday, and which ones point a way forward for the art?
Here Trumpism does seem to have changed my mind: Writers who sought poetry with community roots, poems that had little to do with elite institutions, were singling out the best parts of our future: The poets who sought a gnarled, fierce resistance to prose sense and called it a protest against neoliberalism may not know how to save America, but at least they knew what was wrong.
Daniel Borzutzky, with his new National Book Award, looks better, and more frightening, than before. But I am not able to write like any of them. I have the feeling that they, and I, got something deeply, sadly wrong. So instead I have been rereading W. No other poet has captured so well the feeling of noble failure—of having lost an unfair fight—along with the feeling of conflict between serving a very flawed nation and serving the ideals embodied in art. Poems with community roots, poems that have little to do with elite institutions, are singling out the best parts of our future.
Yeats wrote in defense of institutions, historical memory, and gradual change. He also wrote in defense of ideals, against a pragmatism so total that it toppled into defeatism: Yeats once turned to politics, and to a clumsy courtship, out of frustration with the demands of art; now so the hypermetrical final line implies he has turned back to poetry because public life and erotic life have failed.
This Yeats—from the early s into the s—is a poet of fierce disillusion, musing both on the necessity and on the frustration veering toward futility of his entry into the electoral fray.
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I do not take from these lines the lesson that resisting Trumpism is futile. Sometimes they led him close to endorsing fascists. The Yeats scholar Jonathan Allison summarizes the most egregious episode: He wrote marching songs for them, but soon, realizing his mistake, he revised them so they could not be sung.
That same past holds political tragic heroes, imperfect national leaders who could have done better, brought down by sexual prurience, hurt by fake news or by building the wrong coalition.
Few serious students of history feel that way all the time: Again, and more seriously: One can, however, map his moods about politics, and his way to make moods into poems: Again, it is important to remember that Yeats, though rarely in personal danger, lived through more violence than I am likely to see. Yeats lived through more political violence than we are likely to see. It is a crowd that any of us, even Yeats himself, might join: When Yeats writes in hexameters, it usually means that someone, or something, has exceeded a normal limit, has gone too far. But Yeats does not join a crowd.
Here Yeats laments not only the conflict in progress but the institutional, cultural, even species-wide flaws that let it occur.
The poetry of migration
World War I had just ended—represents the collapse of all norms and restraints, and the end of the idea of peaceful progress. Advice and disgust occupy the same sentence and stanza, though not the same clause. Be as disgusted as you like, but be practical. Stay outraged, but try to help. Remember the institutions his were not ours that, in your view, held the worst back. It may be that, having rolled snake eyes this time, we roll sixes in or ; that democratic institutions survive—albeit banged-up—and that some combination of state governments, honestly run elections, betrayed one-time Trump fans, and demographic shifts will heave the country back onto a better, even a social democratic, course.