To be a Fellow at Civitella Ranieri is to be reminded that while the forces of creativity can be difficult to court, there are rare environments where receptivity to these forces widens and where one is afforded the inner latitude to recognize and invite them in. I am beyond grateful for the rhythms my life and writing practice took on here, for the slow walks across the dry Umbrian hillside, the generous stretches of time reading in the shade of olive and cypress trees, and for the privilege of stillness and routine that brought lines and poems to my door, when I was present to receive them. Civitella has been a haven and a gift, in more ways than I can know or put to language.
I was profligate like a floodlight to the sun.
Hoarded saccharine and toothmarks,
wanted only the thickest rhymes, two of each.
Full I was of promises I never intended to keep:
puckered laughter, lines to feast.
I let everyone who entered my life enter through me.
Demanded nonsense love and bodies that would ring.
Not to mention higher kilowatts
of creeping joy, more red in everything—
03/24/2021: Bilingual Poetry Reading with Jenny Xie
04/15/2020: Civitellians in Ploughshares