Katrina by Lyn Lifshin


by Lyn Lifshin

Published by Poetic Matrix Press
97 pages, price $15.00
ISBN 978-0-9827343-0-8

The Book

"The Super Bowl of 2010 was what I call a minor drama. For those involved it is important indeed, and yet, in the grand scheme it passes mostly unnoticed once the game has ended. This time, because of the teams involved, the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts, the game played out in the symbolic realm as well. With the Saints' win many across the country could better join with the still suffering people of New Orleans and the gulf coast; could join again in their loss, grief and rise with compassion to celebrate with them in this minor drama that even for a moment in passing could eclipse the major drama of Katrina. Can poetry be a place, as well, to rise up in compassion? Lyn Lifshin's voice does this. She speaks of individual dramas, not minor but unique, in the lives of those who experienced the major drama of Katrina."
John Peterson, publisher, from the preface

Lyn Lifshin

For her absolute dedication to the small presses which first published her, and for managing to survive on her own apart from any major publishing house or academic institution, Lyn Lifshin has earned the distinction "Queen of the Small Presses." She has been praised by Robert Frost, Ken Kesey and Richard Eberhart. Ed Sanders has seen her as "a modern Emily Dickinson." Her poem "No More Apologizing" has been called "among the most impressive documents of the women's poetry movement" by Alicia Ostriker.

From Katrina:

As One Man Sat in an Evacuation Center in Baton Rouge It was as if All of Us Were Already Pronounced Dead
he could not stop watching
the images of hurt and
crying children on TV.
Known as Grandpa Grady
the elderly man in his
River Ridge neighborhood
was sickened by the images,
was saying "ya'll get those
children." To calm him,
family members lied
and reassured him they
would rescue the children
he was seeing on TV.
But as the day wore on,
sounds grew quieter
and he stopped eating or
speaking. A nurse stopped
by but did not send him
to a hospital. Last Thursday
he died in a single bed
in a small room at the shelter.
"I think," his daughter
said, he grieved him
self to death"
behind a cardboard sign:
Trash barrels overflow.
For 5 days, 20,000 waited
to be rescued, not just from
the flood water but from
the nightmarish place
they sough refuge. The
moon that hovered over
the center seemed closer
than help. Rapes and
murders, robberies,
fathers trying to protect
their family. "It was as if
somebody already had
the body bags. Wasn't no
body coming to get us."
No one knows how many
died, were raped, assaulted.
250 National Guards
camped out but did nothing.
Everywhere I went one
woman said, I saw people
with guns in their hands
putting guns to other
people's heads
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