Monday, June 26, 2023

Stephen Cushman

Stephen Cushman is a poet from Connecticut who moved south in 1982 to be a Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where he specializes in American literature.

He is the author of seven poetry books ― all published by Louisiana State University Press ― including his latest: Keep the Feast (2022). His other publications include two books of literary criticism, and three books about the American Civil War.

His publisher’s website says that Keep the Feast “sings in the tradition of the psalmists and devotional poets…” and that the title poem is structured after Psalm 119. Maurice Manning praised the book, saying, “Schooled equally in Thoreau and folklore, the poems in this book are nourishing in their humor, edifying in their precision, and enlivening all around.”

Atheism’s Easier

Abstain from staring too long at the sky.
Stick to screens, little keyboards;
block out birds with private earbuds;
never hear the wind breathe harder.
Watch TV. Always drive.
Try to avoid a night outside
in ladled moonlight, glowing broth.
Eschew solitude; cut back on silence;
call up someone just to gossip;
send lots of messages; read them, too.
Make sure not to spend a winter in the woods,
a month on a summit, a week in a desert,
time by the sea if it promotes thinking
how it’s acceptance without conditions
that makes me acceptable, and pretty soon,
though tough at first, atheism’s easier.

Posted with permission of the poet.

This post was suggested by Lisa Russ Spaar.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.