friday roundup – No Eden, keeping it real, and a very hardy tortoise

I will survive

Reader, I have been such a good mom this week! I volunteered at school two days AND baked cookies. That was fun and all, but I’m looking forward to returning to my underachiever mom status starting now. On to the roundup:

No Eden  This week I’ve been reading Sally Rosen Kindred’s No Eden. It’s a flood-and-torrent of a book that takes a good look at suffering. We begin in prayer, “Out of thorn-apple, out of love-apple, / out of bramble-fruit…” (from “Prayer for Mrs. Snead”) and move quickly into Flood, its “wolf-colored waves” and this question: “What / do you do with your arms / beneath a God gone this wrong?” (from “To Noah”). I have often wondered the same thing.

In some ways the book is also a coming of age tale, with poems of a girl “dangling out on a warped swing, / child of stooped dogwoods / and lilies that sing and sing // and never leave their beds” (“Twilight, 1974”); poems of adolescence: “We were thirteen, / viscous and secreting new warmth, / and this was why we were in love // with the earth, with its tender mass / of panting gratitude..” (“Earth Science); and poems of a grown woman still trying to make sense of things: “How long has this been my torn garden? / How long have I danced in the raven’s womb?” (oops: I forgot to cite the poem for this last quote in my original post; it is “My Body at Thirty is a Dark Horse”).

I’m enjoying the book for its re-imaginings of ancient stories, primarily from the Old Testament / Torah, and for the poems that give voice to the stories that didn’t make it into our collective literature, such as “Noah’s Wife Remembers.” I’m also reveling in the rich imagery and word play of the collection. For me, the word play becomes a statement unto itself that we don’t quite have the words to put to this world. And yet, the collection isn’t without hope. We end up on dry land with miracles and upturned faces (“Mercy on Pecos Road”).

I first came across Sally Rosen Kindred’s work in Cave Wall, one of my very favorite journals, and I’m glad I sought out her book. It’s a soulful, rewarding read.

keeping it real  Well, yes it was fun to celebrate a couple of recent publications over the last two weeks, but from the Keeping It Real Desk, we have this news: three rejections to tally this week. C’est la guerre, Reader, c’est la guerre.

and finally, a very hardy tortoise  Here’s a poem for your Friday: The Tortoise Survives the Fire by Lisa Allen Ortiz. This is a poem I go back to again and again. I hope you enjoy it, too. Happy Friday.

(Photo is public domain from wikimedia commons by Aaron Logan, from

8 thoughts on “friday roundup – No Eden, keeping it real, and a very hardy tortoise

  1. It’s been rejection city around here as well..and I’ve heard the same from others. Glad we have the tortoise and that wonderful poem to remind us to plos onward from the ash. Thanks for that.

  2. Oh, that tortoise poem is terrific–“all blessed in soot.” Love it. Thank you for sharing it, and for reading No Eden! And hooray for your good-mom duties! I traced 42 mittens for kindergarten this week. Somewhat crookedly, but as they say, I did my “kindergarten best.”

    • Sally, you’re welcome! Yes, I love the dogged tortoise, too, and the idea of “kindergarten best.” It dovetails with my philosophy of being not a good mother, but a good-enough mother :). Huzzah for 42 mittens!

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