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"Siren Song"


Last week I heard Saeed Jones and Isaac Fitzgerald talk about writing and friendship at a local literary festival. Both of these writers have new books out; Jones's Alive at the End of the World is a collection of poetry and Fitzgerald's Dirtbag, Massachusetts is a memoir in essays. Fitzgerald asked Jones which poems influenced him to start writing poetry, and in addition to work by the poets Jones calls "The Housewives" (Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton), he brought up Margaret Atwood's "Siren Song," which he read as a teenager. "Siren Song" is a persona poem, told from the point of view of one of the mythical beings, and Jones said until reading it he hadn't realized that a poem could could lie. It inspired him to go home and write.

I couldn't resist looking it up later, and must say that I like this one, too. Talk about unreliable narrators!


Siren Song

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:
the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls


The Poetry Friday roundup is at Kathryn Appel's place on September 16th.

Photo by ST: The fountain (but not a siren) at the Yaddo Gardens, Saratoga Springs, NY

Poetry Friends


A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how much I had liked the poet Kamilah Aisha Moon's book Starshine & Clay. Just this week I was reading Aracelis Girmay's 2016 collection, the black maria, and came across her beautiful poem "Moon for Aisha." The poem is a tribute to friendship and also speaks about the time before these two poets knew each other. I just love this excerpt, which reminded me of several of my own chums over the years.

& then you, all nearly grown,
all long-legged laughter,
already knowing all the songs
& all the dances,
not my friend, yet,
but, somehow—Out There.

There are more poems to read at the Poetry Friday roundup at The Teacher Dance.

Photo: Corner flowers, NYC, 2022. ST.