Poetry: The Lovers Speak of Calligraphy and Book I of The Iliad


Book I of The Iliad: βουλε Δτοç (will of Zeus)

To unpeople the world of heroes.
So at the first singing
of mankiller Achilles
sidelined in wrath
and self-aggrandizement,
many men go down

to death, a way of saying
there’s limit to what
story will take on.




The Lovers Speak of Calligraphy

Her talk taps lightly
against his chest intending
force and the inner necessity

of things. He twines her hair
around a finger and runs
the arch of his foot along

her shin. Less an outline’s
likeness, she says,
as the sun shadows tree

to the wall than the life of tree
the sun makes possible,
her hand rolling a stroke

in the air above him
like a sail’s edge buffets
in wind, draws taut

and presses the boat away.
And when tree ceases to seem
tree? She touches his hip,

hooks thumb in his mouth. […]

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About the Visual Artist:

Eric Pankey is an award-winning author of ten collections of poetry, most recently Dismantling the Angel. Pankey’s writing has appeared in journals including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, The Iowa Review, Sequestrum, The Yale Review, and others. His new book, Crow-Work is forthcoming in 2015. Pankey is Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University.


About the Author:
Bryan Narendorf’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Crazyhorse, Ninth Letter, Fugue, Bird’s Thumb, and other journals. He lives in Philadelphia and teaches at La Salle University.