Field

Articles from No. 97, Fall

Blueberry
She wanted to play with the blue parakeet,so she cupped it in her hands, then let it perchon her index fingeruntil her father said the bird was tired,dear, it gets tired, it's just a little thing,so she made it rest an hourthen took it out again,letting...
Eating Stars
Nancy Willard gave up full-time teaching (and tenure) at Vassar in 1973 to spend more time with her two-year-old son, and with her writing. First published in FIELD #19, "QuestionsMy SonAskedMe, Answers I Never Gave Him" arrived five years later, presenting...
Girl Saints
O LORD, when the Angel said Listenwhen the Angel said Do not fall to the earth for anyonewe were already stained in glass.A circle of black flies bitingour arrival. Scales scraped off of a fish.Starved girls folded at a line from Leviticus.This is how...
Gold
Beginning with its cartoon-evoking title, Nancy Willard's "How the Hen Sold Her Eggs to the Stingy Priest" moves immediately to a sales pitch, and from thence to layers of lyrical reflection. The title reveals the outcome of the story, but it doesn't...
Hubertsweg
March midnight, the gardener said,as we came from the stationseeing taillights of the late trainsnuffed by fog. Someone walked behind us,we spoke of the weather.The wind throws rainacross the ice of the ponds,the year spinning slowly towards the light.And...
Lieu De Living Mémoire
They have no close livingrelatives, but because of theirability to form aerial rootsand sprouts, ginkgo trees growingone to two kilometers fromthe spot where the atomic bombwas dropped were among the fewliving things to survive. Even now,in autumn their...
Made in California
Los Angeles to be exact, 1970 to isolate the year,my parents nude in their bedroom, kissingand more than kissing, the war still going on,protests against the war still going onstill going on, sit-ins and daisy chain halos,handmade signs, the citizens...
Nancy Willard: A Field Symposium
When Nancy Willard died in February, the New York Times obituary rightfully praised her as a novelist and writer of children's books, but it omitted any examination of her achievement as a poet for adults. We hope this symposium will help redress the...
Questions My Son Asked Me, Answers I Never Gave Him
1. Do gorillas have birthdays?Yes. Like the rainbow, they happen.Like the air, they are not observed.2. Do butterflies make a noise?The wire in the butterfly's tongue hums gold.Some men hear butterflies even in winter.3. Are they part of our family?They...
The Insects
They pass like a warning of snow,the dragonfly, mother of millions,the scarab, the shepherd spider,the bee. Our boundaries breakon their jeweled eyes,blind as reflectors.The black beetleunder the microscope wears theblue of Chartres. The armoredmantis,...
The Trees of a Life
Among the distinguishing aspects of Nancy Willard's poetry is her particular reverence for-as well as intimate knowledge of-the natural world, including people as part of Nature's ecosystem. Her poetry offers a link between an ancient tradition of pastoral...
The Trouble with Describing the Winter Sky
There's a road north of herethat's under water twice a day.Sometimes, when the tide goes outa fish is strandedand gets run over by a car.Imagine:a fishrun over by a car.There must be other worlds with us.There must be other worlds in us.There must be...
Two Garden Poems
In "Learning by Heart," one of her later poems, Nancy Willard speculates about her writing practice, her attitude toward writing- her poems learn by heart in several senses of the term. She is talking about how she apprehends, but she is also saying...
Was Several Cubicles We've Kept Our Hearts In
and here the grief I thought was my ownwas a couple of grandfathers:one a faraway bridgeto a past now largely elapsedand another holding an explosive device in the photobecause that past too was violent and dull.and still is, and people act accordingly.they...
We Heard a Fly Buzz When We Died
Unpretentious, anything but dour and suspicious, Nancy Willard's poetry shows us a mind grasping for inspired images, and taking pleasure in that grasping, until the object of contemplation escapes human ingenuity. Often her poems are lenses focused...
When There Were Trees
I can remember when there were trees,great tribes of spruces who deckled themselves in light,beeches buckled in pewter, meeting like Quakers,the golden birch, all cutwork satin,courtesan of the mountains; the paper birchtrying all summer to take off...
Who Is the Stream?
You can't step into the same river even once. -Attributed to Cratylus, as quoted in Aristotle's MetaphysicsWe, little fishes, after the image of our Ichthys, Jesus Christ, are born in the water. -Second-century theologian TertullianThe form of Nancy...
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