Monday, July 10, 2023

Amy Nemecek

Amy Nemecek is a poet living in Michigan who in 2021 won the Paraclete Poetry Prize for her book The Language of the Birds (2022). By day, she works as a nonfiction editor for the Baker Publishing Group.

Luci Shaw has said about this collection, “In this brilliant transcription of responsive poems we are reminded of the generous beauty offered us by our Creator, if we would only look and listen, if we would join in offering praise.”

“Listen more than you talk. Stop and listen, stop and watch,” Nemecek said in an interview with Grand Rapids Magazine. She then echoed Mary Oliver’s poem “When I Am Among the Trees” to say “… never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often.” This is advice she not only shares, but applies to the writing of her own poems.

The following is the title poem from her book.

The Language of the Birds

On the fifth day, your calloused fingers
stretched out and plucked a single reed
from the river that flowed out of Eden,
trimmed its hollow shaft to length and
whittled one end to a precise vee
that you dipped in the inkwell of ocean.
Touching pulpy nib to papyrus sky,
you brushed a single hieroglyph―
feathered the vertical downstroke
flourished with serif of pinions,
a perpendicular crossbar lifting
weightless bones from left to right.
Tucking the stylus behind your ear,
you blew across the wet silhouette,
dried a raven’s wings against the static,
and spoke aloud the symbol’s sounds:

Posted with permission of the poet.

This post was suggested by Nellie deVries.

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.