Monday, April 27, 2009

Poetry 27: Deborah Keenan

Angela Hallstrom studied with Deborah Keenan at Hamline, where she (Angela) did her MFA. So, lucky me, one Christmas I got Keenan's Willow Room, Green Door: New and Selected Poems (Milkweed, 2007) as a gift. It contains some work from other of Keenan's collections and is a hefty, juicy little package of delightful images which, I believe, influenced one of my big spurts of writing. I was reading it while I did another "write a poem a day for a month" projects, and I see a little of her in what I produced then.

Here's an excerpt

from "The Amateur"
by Deborah Keenan

An amateur parent at twenty-one, I was in
my blue period, to match my son's eyes and
the heaviness in my heart. His infant kabuki
hands defined the air, my dreams grew unsteady
as he grew more beautiful. I charted elaborate
plans for my life without him, while he dreamt
of clowns coming through windows to scratch
his eyes, and so we painted clowns, coloring
in details of anonymous faces, red stars on
flat white cheeks, blue triangles over empty
eyes. He slept easier then, while I dreampt
of masked men pushing him through the bedroom
window after disconnecting the stereo, severing
the telephone cord.

I love that image of her infant son's "kabuki hands."

p.s. Huge congratulations to Angela for winning "Best Novel from a New Author" at the Whitney Awards this weekend!!!!!

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