Charlotte Mandel has
published eight books of poetry, the most recent, Life
Work from David Robert Books. Previous titles include Rock
Vein Sky and Sight Lines from Midmarch Arts Press, and two
poem-novellas of feminist biblical revision—The Life of
Mary, with foreword by Sandra M. Gilbert, and The Marriages
of Jacob. Her verse play, The Gardener’s Wife appears
on Verse Wisconsin, with audio. She founded and coordinated
the Eileen W. Barnes Award to publish a first book by a
woman over forty, and edited Saturday’s Women, co-edited by
Rachel Hadas and Maxine Silverman. Her awards include the
New Jersey Poets Prize, two fellowships in poetry from New
Jersey State Council on the Arts, residencies at art
colonies including a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
fellowship at Yaddo.
An independent scholar, she has published a
series of essays on the role of cinema in the life and work
of H. D., as well as studies of Muriel Rukeyser, May Sarton,
and Hayden Carruth. She recently retired from teaching
poetry writing at Barnard College Center for Research on
For Montclair Art Museum she has twice
presented “A Poet Speaks to Art”, reading her poems in
response to works of art with images of the art projected on
screen. Forthcoming from David Robert Books is a
collaborative book, Through a Garden Gate, poems in response
to stunning images of a garden created and photographed by
Vincent Covello. The project is also available as a reading
with slide visuals. Visit her at www.charlottemandel.com.
Given clear horizon, the erratic
lenses of my eyes follow a slow blue
crescent of darkness ascending. Steepness
of the meadow slope dissolves in earth's
shadow--tonight rotates into view.
Edges lose power. Cataracts shatter
the naked geometry of the moon
into brushstrokes of luminous scribble.
Sure of my field as any blade of grass,
I take no care. Breathing is sight
September odors of earth after rain
reveal roots alive with tilling motion.
It is not the bird I see, talons fast
within a weave of scrub twigs, but its
into flight--scrim of leaf in commotion,
skin's prickle--as though a night spider's
thread has been cast as far as it may go.
I lift my face to tracking calls of crows,
to keys of black wings releasing tumblers
beyond our web of sky. Not a wing
[In Sight Lines, Midmarch Arts
Press, 1998; first appeared in New Millenium Writings]
© Copyright, 2014, Charlotte
All Rights Reserved.