Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Rachel Blau DuPlessis is the author of the long poem Drafts, begun in 1986, and collected most recently in two books published in 2010 from Salt Publishing– Pitch: Drafts 77-95, along with The Collage Poems of Drafts (2011). Other volumes include Torques: Drafts 58-76 (Salt Publishing, 2007) as well as Drafts 1-38, Toll (Wesleyan U.P., 2001) and Drafts 39-57, Pledge, with Draft unnnumbered: Précis (Salt Publishing, 2004).

In 2006, two books of her innovative essays were published: Blue Studios: Poetry and Its Cultural Work (2006), and the ground-breaking The Pink Guitar: Writing as Feminist Practice ([1990] 2006) both from University of Alabama Press.

Rachel Blau DuPlessis has written several other critical books and co-edited three anthologies as well as doing an edition of The Selected Letters of George Oppen (1990).

Please visit Rachel’s website: rachelblauduplessis.com

Draft 37: Praedelle

Hard. The dure of tradurre.
wide low arcdeep fields,
houses dotted, ho detto,
with shadow. And sun stark.

Stone and flesh, worry wort
no subtle word, true St. John’s Wort.
Grab a bite at their Fat Lamb Inn.
Unstatable. The what?

Crumbling. “White plenitude”
Red boots, sea frets, wool smell
blanket wet with interior dew.
Close eyes. To See well.

Bring this from there,
this from here, that d’étrangère,
and something else, ormer,
gives long hoots from elsewhere.

One place cool and wide, second
hot and dry, third a salty isle.
With simple travelling steps–praedelle–
mix, shift and cambiare sides.

Assembling stagione
stations and stages
shades of unspeakable iotas
seasons and ages.

Steep fell end becks
and calls to pasta–macaronic–
the “speech” of the sites,
in places tectonic.

Brough, pronounced Bruff
in the hard hills, on the scarp bares
Apt in two sites. Bones’ slough.
Lark adds arc to aires.

Paglia e fieno
green and yellow tawdry
twine nests of edible color
hay listeth towards straw.

“High high high” : name fits
phonemes diversi, threaded lects,
words org. in threes. Solve Riddles?
“Well, it’s a fookin ‘ill, ain’t it”

Farfalle scamper and rise.
Kiting float. Stonewater jars
long peach lines of orrery
sunset orbitic law.

Bean of the sea-wall
chicken of the tree-well
lattice stripe language
high wind vowels

Chiaroscuro, and know why;
footnooted data, hypnic jerk
on the other side of verso
wads of salt grass lurk

Dream in the dream
of unspeakable Italian
cactus melon, due lingue
mixup round the homonym

Seameadow seagrass
pradera de Thalassia
She first thought watermelon
translated to acqua melone

Mite speaking.
Mote spoken.
Babble out the syllables
Présilly Hoboken.

Still-life with dishware
cooked earth meister-mixed
elbow on it, triple L.
attachments to fancy, nixed.

Dried lavender smells like tea.
Earl Grey and boxed milk
hot in a greenclad bowl.
Something definite so to speak.

Syntax built up
clarification matte;
mutes–cardboard, copper
black rubber and tin hat.

Dream sounds: was there somebody?
Dream thought: sentence about,
uh, language. Dream– damn.
No memory gets the sentence out.

Living alongside borders
A house called “Two Ways”
Rachel and Leah, why the choice?
in whose eyes?

Stand on the porch
between words and the speechless
as two female triangles
hug by pinkish arches.

Folds fall in laban-notation
from one to the other
striping the absolute
excitabilities of their billow.

They embrace and warm
shutters ope, windows wide
hearts terremoto pitter pat
pulse gold-white light.

In stucco corner where
four tonalities meet
they scatter origami foldits,
dream-awake or dream-asleep.

Wing-steep pitches folden valleys
ortolan quindi–
vantageless voice
of the brown feathery.

Postmemory l’altro ieri
or are there two or more
alongside that very where
darkened statue niches roar.

If one is saying yes, well then
t’other must say no.
Orphery, porphery.
There’s just one way to go?

Win them; neither’s a wrong one.
I love them both, even unseen
who’d eaten out of campo
the wild serrated green.

Dewy shadows of one caught
transfixed on the path
envelopments of instantaneous
black pitch, blank patch.

Name of the one for whom I named her
crepuscular twists of page
in éclairissage before a storm,
O range or rage.

Cooling down in grigio silence
Rime figures parlay soon.
The path (pith) coated with-white
by today-full moon.

Panned-in praedella, another quad
where moon and volcano
silver flames and gold. The ore, ecco,
that rifts claim.

Load eerie rift
with or, yes, what was he saying;
Keatskill to pack in smeltings
back to where they came from.

Rock gold into the open.
Stuff it into roll and rift
Impossible geology
of the gift.

Mined stuff into open earth.
Scrissi orto
verso ringaleaveo
recto on the straightaway, no dearth.

So I loaded the riffs
with terrific zaum
Itched thru the night
wandered the Raum.

Loaded them with either
then with or and both (“both both”)
over the gravel rutted road
where “I”–they–walked.

Ciao Rachel, ciao Leah,
who brought to each the other.
Under keystone bridges found
Long-once dream of a double river.

The or of every rift is ore
the eithers also ores
There are twin rivers rushing wide
that flow apart to lodestar shores.

July 1998
Niccone Valley, Umbria

Draft 37: Praedelle. “‘Load every rift’ of your subject with ore.” John Keats to
P. B. Shelley, 1820. “both both” is Anne Waldman, from Jovis I.

Poetry in this post: © Rachel Blau DuPlessis
Published with the permission of Rachel Blau DuPlessis