All For What – by Featured Poet Alice B. Fogel

At last at the timeless summit
where it seems possible to behold
 
all enormities—windblown
distances, skybound heights—I see
 
this lit and stunning, gem-bright
fly. It is a lone piece of brilliant
 
work to be here at all
and to be that green. But all
 
for what? The irony of being called
green bottle, when instead
 
the bottle should be named for you,
little lucid mite. Just as this rock
 
is named for someone once
thought grand enough for the honor—
 
for generations now forgotten.
Having come to exactly here
 
of the ten thousand places between
every two insect-spans of space
 
in which I too might fit
my perspective, you suggest
 
I ask myself the same question. 
Then: all for whatever
 
small surprise I might find. And when
finally having arrived at the peak,
 
for what I hoped—however briefly—
to be: once larval and now winged. 

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. 

Website:

www.alicebfogel.com

Link/s to book sales:

http://spuytenduyvil.net/nothing-but.html

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.