AS HOME GRIPS the body she is dark looked into
where gauze and tongs hold parts of him in phantom
as if there would be more of what the limbs belong to. Lying
back in a chair, his rupture slowed and the room a dread to enter.
Effaced, they are each the other seen through animal sense
and at the window an emptiness roaming from place to place.
Joan Houlihan is the author of five books of poetry including Shadow-feast, forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2018. Her other books are: Ay (Tupelo Press, 2014), The Us (Tupelo Press, 2009), The Mending Worm, winner of the 2005 Green Rose Award from New Issues Press and Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays (Del Sol Press, 2003). She is contributing critic for the Contemporary Poetry Review and author of Boston Comment, a series of critical essays. She has taught at Columbia University, Emerson College and Smith College and serves on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is also Professor of Practice in Poetry at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Houlihan founded and directs the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.
On the importance of poetry:
“Because words fail—in trauma, in mystery, in the experience of the sublime—poetry is necessary to break the silence.”