Blessings and Curses
poems by Anne Whitehouse
Published by Poetic Matrix Press
113 pages, price $15.00
Available from Small Press Distribution (SPD)
"Blessings and Curses by New York poet Anne Whitehouse is a series of 24 curses
and 40 blessings that cover territory both familiar and deeply personal. Both curses
and blessings are quietly illuminating, neither too full of sadness nor of joy rather
a perfect balance of what a life brings and what a perceptive heart has gleaned.
Anne writes with a sure hand, schooled in the craft of poetry so that what she has
to impart has the right language to say it without interruption.
"Blessings and Curses (by Anne Whitehouse) is a candid and powerful work of beautifully
observed moments that shed her visionary light on art, on friendship, on social
history, on nature, on Buddhism, on writers and writing, on memory, on the fleeting
and the eternal, and on God. This is a deeply satisfying journey through a poet's
life and soul, shared with an intimacy that is both simple and profound."
— Gina Browning, author of Roses of the Heart
Anne Whitehouse was born and grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. She graduated from
Harvard College and Columbia University. She is the author of The Surveyor's Hand
(poems) and Fall Love (novel). Her second novel, Rosalind's Ring, set in Birmingham,
is a finalist in the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards. Her poetry chapbook,
Bear in Mind, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She lives in New York City
with her husband and daughter.
From Blessings and Curses:
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An enchanted summer evening,
among colored paper lanterns,
music wafting in the beer garden—
the ironic lyrics and wistful melodies
of middle-aged men.
You say, "In some part of my mind
I'm always eighteen."
Once I fell in love
with the image of a boy
that I found in another boy.
It was nostalgia I was in love with,
the sudden opening
of the past into the present.
A water lily blooms
in the garden's fountain.
Past the warehouses and docks,
tankers and barges and great ships
pass in the deep channel
of dark and dirty water.
To be easily intimidated
is a curse.
When I was younger
I let other people
influence my behavior
against my will.
It is painful to think of now.
When I took their advice
against my better instincts,
I came to grief in my heart.
Sometimes a stranger
reached out to help me.
When I entered the Writing Division,
my father urged me to study Accounting
so I could support myself.
I went to one class—what a bore!
"You might as well
be in Business School,"
said my advisor, a poet.
I knew he was right
yet needed him to tell me
to drop the class.
With my mother, it was harder.
Today, failure is complete,
yet I am not to blame.
Still struggling with blame,
I hold this paradox in my heart.
After all these years
only my heart has changed.