Lois Harrod’s poetry – “Forgiveness,” “Every Single Thing Becomes a Word, ” and “Upon Hearing Lines of Lu Yu through Water” – appeared in Issue 10 and can be read here.
Tell us a little about these poems.
Upon Hearing Lines of Lu Yu through Water
Do you know the “gluggle jug,” a fish-shaped pitcher that gurgles when you pour liquid from it? I was reading Lu Yu back in 2007 when I started this poem, and it become a poem full of sound and water, fish and shore.
“Forgiveness” is one of several poems I have been working on lately with abstract titles: “Mercy,” “Goodness” (which was just published in Clementine Unbound). In a poem of this sort, I like a little narrative, a suggestion of narrative to hold it all together—hence those movies played backwards (not so possible now with CD’s) and then the idea from physics that time can move backwards too, and the difficulties of forgiveness. Finding that bit of narrative is as difficult as forgiveness. For me, the gift in the poem was the language in the last lines—the way the word reeled came back to the beginning.
I too have reeled off things
I can’t rewind. Won’t.
They seemed that true when I said them.
I didn’t expect to say that—but it seemed true.
Every Single Thing Becomes a Word
I began this poem in 2008 when I was reading Borges. In fact, I often write back to what I am reading. It’s my way of thinking, I suppose. As a child I was fascinated by the idea the word become flesh, so this poem is my riff on my unbelief—or the way words fail and fall.
What was the most difficult part of writing these poems?
All three of these poems employ word play, which I enjoy for the shimmer of meaning. However, it’s important to me that my language is rich and suggestive without being unclear. I want layers of meaning, but with clarity.
Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.
I just recently read Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo, which I liked very much. He portrays his characters with such generosity.
If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?
A pint of Guinness with Edna O’Brien. I also just read her Country Girls. I so admire her ability to use the right detail, the spare detail. She seems to be doing for Ireland what Alice Munro (whom I’d also like to drink with) did for Canada. O’Brien deserves a Nobel Prize. I reading all of her right now.
I’d also like to drink with Steven Millhauser—I love his social allegories.
What are you working on now? What’s next?
Poems, poems, poems. Or as Hamlet says, “Words, words, words.” I just got my chapbook Nightmares of the Minor Poet published as well as a series of poems on the heart (And She Took the Heart). I tend to work in groups of poems until they coalesce. I have already mentioned a series of poems with abstract titles. I have a collection, a book, a “little poems” that I hope will all come together. Basically, I write just about every day, and what I write seems to group itself.
Our thanks to Lois Marie for taking the time to answer a few questions and share her work. Read “Forgiveness,” “Every Single Thing Becomes a Word, ” and “Upon Hearing Lines of Lu Yu through Water” here: www.sequestrum.org/poetry-by-lois-harrod.
Lois Marie Harrod’s most recent collection Nightmares of the Minor Poet appears in June from Five Oaks. Her chapbook And She Took the Heart appeared in January 2016, and her 13th and 14th poetry collections,Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. She is widely published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey. Links to her online work at www.loismarieharrod.org.