Literary Arts | READ LOCAL First

READ LOCAL First: Natasha Sajé

READ LOCAL SUNDAY is your glimpse into the working minds and hearts of Utah’s literary writers. 15 Bytes regularly offers works-in-progress and / or recently published work by some of the state’s most celebrated and promising writers of fiction, poetry, literary nonfiction and memoir.

Today we present Salt Lake City-based Natasha Sajé, the author of three books of poems, Red Under the Skin (Pittsburgh, 1994), Bend (Tupelo, 2004), Vivarium (Tupelo, 2014), and a poetry handbook, Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory, (Michigan, 2014). Her honors include the Robert Winner and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Awards from the Poetry Society of America, the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship to Slovenia, and a Camargo Fellowship in France. Sajé has been teaching in the low residency Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program since 1996, and is a professor of English at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, where she directs the Weeks Poetry Series.

So . . . curl up with your favorite cup of joe and enjoy Natasha Sajé!


a meeting

             Arches National Park

here   where the river flooded and wore
through Jurassic rock a channel

we reconsider    empty
from Old English  aemettig  (at leisure)

the “p” a euphonic addition
language and leisure filled

to help us make sense of our senses
as now when in red sand with a dusting of snow

I see the print of my boots
hear the thrum of salt thousands of feet thick

smell sunlight like carbonation in the air
empty of smog   replete with sharp stars

where the stream doesn’t have to be here

                                                         to be felt

will appear May 6 in the anthology: Sand and Sky: Poems from Utah (Rumi Poetry Club 10th Anniversary Publication, 2017)




                        Majorca 1977

waft of citrus from the little train
globes shining from glossy dark green
room with a view

each day down a stony path
knitted olive and almond trees
bells on goats
chime of churches
buzz of honey bees

each day I walk to the tiny harbor
blue     so safe it felt to swim

no one I knew
knew where I was      no
keys    no work    no plans

what did I do    with time

trudge along the hot road
without a hat      nothing
to read    sun rise on the boat     lonely

happy to be alone

sketch of a bullfight   the black pen
didn’t leave the paper
man and bull awash
yellow velvety color of frangipani

none grow here

in memory only   a heavenly scent
vanilla and orange mixed

tricks the sphinx moth
tricks me

leisure as shallow as the water below
unrooted bliss

(an earlier version published in TAB: Journal of Poetry and Poetics)




from pallium
the cloak that covers the body on its way to burial

a cloth of comfort

comfort once meant strong and now
means soft and easeful

as in morphine and mouth sponges
as in care
as in acquiring at the end

the cloak
from clocca    bell-shaped

as when the world was quieter
and the sound of a bell
could ring in an afterlife

I’d like to begin anticipating
my body as a sponge
filled and wrung out again and again
by pain and the will to live

palliative            not from pale
as in beyond the
staked vines on a fence dividing
governable from wild

known from unknown

(published December 2016 in Under a Warm Green Linden)



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