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Carolina Wren Press announces the publication of: Goldberg–Variations by Charles Wyatt

April 11, 2015

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Emily Poems

May 16, 2015

There’s a certain slant of light


Imagine the chandeliers, the candles

at moonlight cant, hedge twist –


portrait of a pale cry,

animal rondo, puffed and pouted –


The orchestra files from the pit,

first the flutes, then an oboe,


cleaned with an owl’s feather,

then several owls, struggling


with a guitar, a wheel of cheese,

the tiny bones and skulls –


They always leave because

they can see, they can sing in the


dark –



I had been reading Helen Vendler’s wonderful book, Emily Dickenson, Selected Poems and Commentaries, when I had the notion to have some conversations with them.  I’d take a line and use it for a cantus firmus.  What I came up with was miniatures, images –

the kinds of things you see after you have been dazzled by a bright light.


They took on a kind of form, ending with a single word.  I believe I should call this form the clunk.


Some editors liked them – others seemed to disapprove.  My correspondence with Miss Dickenson should be conducted in private they implied.  So I took a number of them and chopped off the line I was referencing.  Then I gave them new titles.  Now they are secret, like the puzzle paintings in George Perec’s Life, A User’s Manual.  And it was fun to find titles for them.  Here is one I like especially:


Extract from a Shorter Poem



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© 2015 Charles M. Wyatt