Shadow by Featured Poet Alice B Fogel  

(from poems on the Appalachian Trail) 

If there is some divine shadow
flung over every worldly thing,
that could be a reason for rhyming
cirrus with feathers, wind with wings,
this mountain with the last
and the next whose shadow
shortens now, cast west
in a morning sun shaded
twofold by that raven calling
in answer to other uncertainties. 
No matter what they say, the ravings
of a beleaguered mind
sweep and scold, weakening
my resolve to climb, then darkening
without relief or thanks to cloud.
So much deeper, and deepening,
these slower bass winds
of wings:
an eagle in the opening,
hawks over rock slopes below
the relentless bluster and gust of a shallow
shrill echo. See:
the bird to the wind
is ballast, a revenant without mission
save to shadow
its own appetite, ravenous
as mine still winging
like this torn map
I keep holding up in my hand freely
flapping in the wind. 

Poem by Alice B Fogel

Alice B Fogel served as the New Hampshire poet laureate from 2104 through 2019. Her latest book is Nothing But: a series of indirect considerations on art & consciousness. A Doubtful House is her previous collection, preceded by Interval: Poems Based on Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” which won the Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature & the 2016 NH Literary Award in Poetry. An earlier book, Be That Empty, was a national poetry bestseller. She is also the author of Strange Terrain, on how to appreciate poetry without necessarily “getting” it—which offers inroads to poetry useful for readers, reading groups, teachers, & writers. Nominated for Best of the Web & a dozen times for the Pushcart, she has been awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, & her poems have appeared in many journals & anthologies, including Best American Poetry, Spillway, Hotel Amerika, The Inflectionist, & The Southern Review. She works one-on-one with students with learning differences at Landmark College, & hikes mountains whenever possible. 


Links to book sales:

Nothing But reveals the disruptions—welcome or unsettling—to our stream of consciousness that occur when we encounter the unexplainable. In these poems, such suspensions of linear thought become a beckoning toward transcendence, an opening both deeper into, and out beyond, our perceptions in an otherwise prescribed world.

A marriage houses two wildly distinct entities, each one in turn a form containing its own unruly spirit. Addressing its inhabitants with humor, love, sorrow, anger, confusion, and hope, A Doubtful House explores what happens to boundaries–psychological, emotional, physical, even syntactical–when people live together for a long time.

This series of poems responding to Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” pays homage to a 274-year-old masterpiece and, with the theme of spirit and embodiment that music—and life itself—evoke, renders from it a luminous new interpretation. Bach created the Goldbergs’ 32 sections using nearly all the styles of western European music at the time; Fogel responds in kind with a range of contemporary poetic styles, including narrative, lyric, and experimental, all confined within the 32-line structure she has borrowed from the composer’s 32-bar format. Interval mimics the “baroque” effects of overlapping melodies and harmonies by layering sound, syntax, and sense in multiple voices exploring self, identity, and being.