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Youngstown State University

The YSU Poetry Center
A reading by
Dora Malech and James Galvin
Thursday, March 25 at 7:30 PM
in the Ohio Room of Kilcawley Center 

Dora Malech earned a BA in Fine Arts from Yale College and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has been the recipient of a Frederick M. Clapp Poetry Writing Fellowship from Yale, a Truman Capote Fellowship and a Teaching-Writing Fellowship from the Writers’ Workshop, a Glenn Schaeffer Poetry Award, and a Writer’s Fellowship at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbertide, Italy. Waywiser Press recently published her first full-length collection of poems, Shore Ordered Ocean. The Cleveland State University Poetry Center will publish her second collection, Say So, in late 2010. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Poetry, Best New Poets, American Letters & Commentary, Poetry London, and The Yale Review.


James Galvin is the author of seven books of poetry, including Resurrection Update: Collected Poems, 1975–1997, and most recently, As Is; he is also the author of the critically acclaimed prose book, The Meadow (1992), and a novel, Fencing the Sky (Henry Holt, 1999). Galvin has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation for his poetry. For many years he has been on the permanent faculty at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, spending part of the year in Iowa City, Iowa, and the remainder on his ranch on Boulder Ridge, just above Tie Siding, Wyoming, where he grew up.
Highways Are Abandoned
By Dora Malech

My friend bends the microphone’s neck to his mouth,
stands among strangers in folding chairs and speaks

of his sadness. Good job, my friend and good girl
to the dog, circling and squatting so low to the lawn.

Today I drove past two men strung from trees with yellow rope,
suspended as they sawed down branches. When I passed

back I saw only rope, no men, four police cars, two ambulances.
I know a blackjack dealer who says better lucky than good

each time she flips my cards. In the newspaper, brimstone,
a girl whispering at first I thought it was a joke, then they started

to shoot the windows. I can’t be the only one wondering
about the whereabouts of our gold medals, our arms to end

all open arms. Good night to my sister, whose bed I shared
when we were small. Each night good night and turned our backs.

When I am at a loss for words I try ravage, havoc, clemency.
Good luck to my mother, hauling her lump in to the doctors.

Once on a train a woman tried to give me twenty dollars
to make me stop crying.
by James Galvin

The more I see of people, the more I like my dog.
And this would be good country if a man could eat scenery.

The lake’s ice gives light back to the air,
Shadows back to water.

In wet years the land breathes out,
And a crop of limber pines jumps into the open
Like green pioneers.
In dry years Beetles kill them with roadmaps
Under the skin.

The land breathes in.
The sun goes down,
And the whole sky cracks like rivermud in drought.

A few trees make it each time,
As if some tide carried them out, away from the others.

They say a tree that falls in timber
Goes down in good company:
Snow drifts in and it all goes soft.

They say a ghost is a ghost
That doesn’t know it’s dead yet.

Those limber pines die standing, lightning-struck, wind broke,
And enough good pitch
For a hermit’s winter.

The cabin stood; the man was long dead.
Packrats nested in the firewood,
And a crowd of medicine bottles held forth on the shelf.

When hermits die
They close their eyes. They never hear
The parson sermonize how somewhere
There is hope where no hope was.

A chance to be alone for a chance to be abandoned,
Everything is lost or given.

Hermits never know they’re dead till the roof falls in.

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