In the time of quiet

Veronica Golos talks about her work during quarantine

by Laura Bulkin
Posted 5/2/20

Veronica Golos is a founding co-editor of the Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, former poetry editor for the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and core faculty at Tupelo Press' Writers Conferences.

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In the time of quiet

Veronica Golos talks about her work during quarantine

Posted

Veronica Golos is a founding co-editor of the Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, former poetry editor for the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and core faculty at Tupelo Press' Writers Conferences.

She is also the author of four books of poetry. We asked her to share some thoughts about her work: How it's being impacted during quarantine, what she's doing to stay active and creative, whether there are new themes in her work and her plans for the future. She shared her experience, as well as some new poetry.

"First I'd like to say, that I know for so many people, this quarantine is very, very difficult," Golos said. "Not only financially, socially, children at home, but also psychologically. It can be hard. For myself, I am very grateful to be living in Taos, for its community and its beauty, its smallness.

"Its impact on me as a poet is generative. I am writing every day, sharing with two other poets; I write to see what I feel, how this solitude opens up energy for me. As for new themes, yes, I find that new themes have shown themselves. I have been primarily a poet of persona, tracking and tackling American history, and in my newest book, 'Girl,' my own history.

However, in this seclusion, I first wrote a series of poems, 'Poems in the Time of Virus,' and then another series, 'Poems in the Time of Quiet,' and then 'After the Flood.' I think the titles show the direction of my thinking and feeling.

"I'd like to share one or two from each of these suites of poems."

Poem in the Time of Virus -- The Promise

I listen to the news of what we've wrought.

If we have fever, will the earth match with its own?

Will our last touch be drought?

Or will we leave waist-high grasses?

Or will the forests take us back

to their whispering under-roots?

I have so many questions; and how far away

is the green evening. Even against the raw

fence, the indigo morning glory....

I am gathering in, feel

the itch of yearning,

please, name it love.

Poem in the Time of Quiet -- Egret

each day i wake swollen with hope -- premonition of spring, perhaps;

the gorge in its cordovan glow

and, in the river below,

a single white egret.

what more may i ask?

After the Flood -- Do I love?

Spring, untrained green through the gravel; my purple

tulips lean upward into this bright murmuring morning,

the grasping crows hailing each other, black

against the eggshell white.

My luminous pain visible in its shadows,

in the faint lace of leaves, this

world; do I

love enough? I always ask.

My blurred eyesight smears the world into marvel. Do I

love the muscle of this day, its throb of grief

in the center of even the dark

gold of each and every morning?

"Of course there is also the influence of the new (at least for me) technology," Golos continued.

"I have done readings from my recent poetry book, 'Girl,' through the Society of the Muse of the Southwest and Zoom. I want to acknowledge Jan Smith, executive director of SOMOS, and Ariana Kramer, curator of poetry for April, for the difficult transformations they have had to do.

"I know that Zoom offers us space to both watch and do readings, to take classes. In fact, Poet laureate Cathy Srisik and I will be doing a joint class on Zoom for SOMOS's fourth Taos Writers Conference in July. I have to say though, with all the advantages of Zoom (people from all over the country can participate), I do miss the single warmth and communion of a live audience. And especially, the Taos audience.

"In combination with writing, long hikes are a solution for me. This combination of movement in beauty, and being in a 'poetry head' has led me into a new book, I think. I find much of the poems have descriptions of this beauty that surrounds us, and its heartaches.

"If there is anything I can add to the generous advice given all over, it is to both enjoy our spring, the sunlight and warmth and thank all those who are working hard to keep us from sickness. Take new paths in your life if possible."

Contact Golos at veronicagolos@yahoo.com.

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