Pattiann Rogers est née à Joplin, dans le Missouri, et gradua de l'Université du Missouri en 1961. En 1981, elle reçut une maîtrise en arts de l'Université de Houston. Elle enseigna à l'Université du Texas, l'Université du Montana, l'Université du Texas, l'Université Washintion à Saint-Louis et à la Mercer University comme écrivain en résidence. De 1993 à 1997, elle enseigna l'écriture à l'Université de l'Arkansas. Elle est mère de deux garçons, et vit dans le Colorado avec son mari, un géophysicien à la retraite.
Ses ouvrages ont reçu de nombreuses distinctions honorifiques : le prix Tietjens, le prix Roethke, le prix Hokin, le Prix Frederick Bock en 1998, ainsi que cinq prix Pushcart. Elle fut récipiendaire de deux subventions du NEA, un Guggenheim Fellowship et un Poetry Fellowship de la Fondation Lannan. En 2000, elle était en résidence au Rockefeller Foundation's Study and Conference à Bellagio, en Italie.
Ses poèmes sont parus dans The Best American Poetry of 1996, Best Spiritual Writing en 1999, 2000, 2001, et dans de nombreuses anthologies et manuels de poésie dont The Prentice Hall Anthology of Women's Literature, Verse and Universe, Poets of the New Century, The Measured Word (On Poetry and Science), Stand-Up Poetry, The Made Thing, et The Discovery of Poetry.
Another Little God
You don't know how important it might be --
the blue-white light from a star like Vega
caught in the eyedots of nocturnal grass frogs
and yellow-bellied toads,
caught in the senses of fishing bats,
And I can't say either how much
it might matter -- that same ping of light
multiplied by each reflective grain
of crystal sand along a beach
beside the Gulf,
held by each slide and scissor
of beak rushes in a southern marsh.
Maybe particles and shafts of light
from Vega penetrate the earth,
descend through silt and loam,
touching, even enlivening,
even partially defining
the microscopic roots of bellflowers,
purple vetches and peas,
the creases and shackles
of worm snakes and grubs.
The translucent eggs of the plumed moth,
the fins of the redbelly dace might need
a star's blue-white light,
like water, like air.
Breath might require it,
breathing starlight into the heart.
You don't know.
After all, we've never lived without it.
If starlight spears through each oily
sperm link of reedbuck and potto,
if it enters every least bulb
of snow flea, wheel bug, hay louse,
if it corridors through all bone crystals,
around each spurl and bole
of the brain, inside timbre and voice,
piercing the whole stone and space
of believe, then,
if only for one complete name
under the sky tonight,
lie still and remember.
Before the Beginning : Maybe God and a Silk Flower Concubine Perhaps
The white sky is exactly the same white
stone as the white marble of the transparent
earth, and the moon with its clear white
swallow makes of its belly of rock neither
absence nor presence.
The stars are not syllables yet enunciated
by his potential white tongue, its vestigial
lick a line that might break eventually,
a horizon curving enough to pronounce
at last, my love.
The locked and frigid porcelain barrens
and hollows of the descending black plain
are a pattern of gardens only to any single
blind eye blinking, just as a possible stroke
of worm, deaf with whiteness, might hear
a lace bud of silk meridians spinning
and unraveling simultaneously on the vacuous
beds of the placeless firmament.
An atheist might believe in the seductive
motion turning beneath the transparent gown
covering invisibly the nonexistent bones
and petals of no other. Thus the holy blossom,
spread like the snow impression of a missing
angel, doubts the deep-looped vacancy
of her own being into which god, in creation,
must assuredly come.
Is it possible there might be silver seeds
placed deep between those legs opening
like a parting of fog to reveal the plunging salt
of a frothy sea? But god digresses, dreaming
himself a ghost, with neither clamor nor ectasy,
into inertia, his name being farther
than ever from time.
Static on the unendurably boring white
sheet of his own plane, he must think hard
toward that focus of conception when he can rise
shuddering, descending and erupting into the beauty
and fragrance of their own makng together --
those flowering orange -- scarlet layers and sun --
shocking blue heavens of, suddenly, one another.
Pattiann Rogers, tiré de Song of the World Becoming : New and Collected Poems 1981-2001
Data from This Line of Light Laboratory
This particular line of light
is the angle of the black mare's
neck as she bends to the evening
grasses. It is the same angle
composing the history
of the trajectory remaining
in the comet's wake, the same
angle inherent to the salt curve
of the wave falling into its fall.
The jiggling gold ball on the jester's
pointed hat is the shaking line
of circular light that occurs
whenever the king sits crying.
This line is similar to the sunside
circle of the orange tossed up
by the juggler so high its only being
is its fire shaking against the sky.
It is akin also to the trembling
the light makes in the tears
of the childless at night.
One certain light of line-clarity
is a single strand of cobweb
floating as its own sun across
the lawn. Another is the crack
in a cut crystal vase so fine
it is seen only when held
to the sky, which fine clarity
sounds like a violin replicating
the liquid line left by the sea's
advance on the moonlit sand.
This line of illumination was created
when thieves first forced the sealed
entrance to a desert tomb and starlight
fell at once straight to its stone floor.
Light lines of double vision
imply either parallel light
off the tines of silver pickle forks
or off the steel of railroad tracks
empty at high noon on the prairie,
or the sun divided in the vision
of the surface-floating whirligig
beetle, or the day divided
by the separately rotating eyes
of the vine green chameleon.
Two lines of light bisecting
at right angles can signify either
two search beams crossing at sea,
or a collision of sincerity and ruse
at the subatomic level, or hope,
or an apparition of hope created
by those investigating every sign
of light at any level.
Pattiann Rogers, tiré de Song of the World Becoming : New and Collected Poems 1981-2001
Fossil Texts on Canyon Walls (extraits)
1. Astrophysical Dynamics
There are fables and legends written
right on my bones, on the red grain
of my bones, visible plots, subplots,
captures and escapes, as decipherable
as black ink fictions scribed
on rolled parchments.
And finely needled tattooes-inked
permanently in trumpet creepers,
jungle canopies, moon-webs of winter,
bellflowers of blood-compose the inner
bowl of my skull. Ancient missas
and pre-earth percussions are recorded
inside every knuckle, engraved on the turns
and curls of my ankles and wrists.
By the spine, I am epic, its staff
and sway. I am an oratorio
of skeleton, an ave of stance. I bear
by body the chamber concert of birth,
the well-worn recital of death.
It's possible then for me
to sink also, a myth of sun buried,
and to rise again on earth, a parable
spoken in stone on a canyon wall.
I could truly relent now
as if I believed bone were rock and rock
light and all boldering stars were fossils
of canyon histories, as if I knew stellar
stories were simply constellations
of the body and living blood were symphony,
all motions intergalactic, interheart,
just the same and as easy to negotiate
as the swing and pulse I might make
from one ringing refrain to the next.
Pattiann Rogers, tiré de Weber Studies, Winter 1997 : 14(1)
If the Moon Appeared Only Once Every Ten Years
There would be moon parades held everyday
for twelve days before that night,
white horses with glass moons clinking
on their bridles, riders in moon-cloud
gowns led by mimes marching and spinning
with gold auras around silver-sequined
moon faces. Moon parties would be in progress
all over town, milky moon drinks, white
chocolate bon bon moons, everyone throwing
foil streamers designed to catch
and reflect the most moonlight possible
in their flying spirals.
Platforms with marble steps and ivory
pedestals would be built on country
hillsides to provide the powerful and wealthy
with the best positions for the longest
viewing, their white porcelain spyglasses
ready to point heavenward.
By law: no artificial light (neon, bulb
or flame) allowed to burn anywhere
during The Hours of the Moon.
Like an ecstatic sailor shouts "Land, land,"
from his gyrating crow’s nest, who might be
the first among the crowds gathered
on the mountaintops to shout, "Moon, moon,"
as the buttery orange rim of that beautiful globe
first appears over the edge of the plains ?
One five-layer creamy moon cake for a prize.
Then squealing children, playing
"Catch the Moon" across open lawns,
would make circles with their arms,
holding them toward the sky to try
to capture that hard sugar button.
I believe, I believe in the medicinal
powers of the moon. Place all the impaired
naked on white blankets to moonbathe
in its healing balm.
No one anywhere would sleep
all night long on that night. And think
how happy you and I would be, lying
on the silver-gray grass, me kissing
your moon-kissed lips, you kissing
my moon-colored ear, and all of us
surrounded, every one of us—all bird
and lizard wings, spiny fish wings,
glass moth and bee wings, every cheetah
fang, siren and salmander eye, sickle
bill and sword bill, all coils
of fiddlehead ferns and wind-tattered
fronds, all grains of gorges, river
spumes and spittles, each slightest
snow flicker of the earth—all of us
together baptized and redeemed as one
in the wash and surf of that rare, now
so properly esteemed, marvelling light.
Pattiann Rogers, tiré de Wordwrights #8, Fall 1996
Life in an Expanding Universe (extraits)
It’s not only all those cosmic
pinwheels with their charging solar
luminosities, the way they spin around
like the paper kind tacked to a tree trunk,
the way they expel matter and light
like fields of dandelions throwing off
waves of summer sparks in the wind,
the way they speed outward,
receding, creating new distances
simply by soaring into them.
(...) And though there isn’t a method
to measure it yet, by finding
a golden-banded skipper on a buttonbrush,
by seeing a blue whiptail streak
through desert scrub, by looking up
one night and imagining the fleeing
motions of the stars themselves, I know
my presence must swell one flutter-width
wider, accelerate one lizard-slip farther,
descend many stellar-fathoms deeper
than it ever was before.(...)
Pattiann Rogers, tiré de EarthLight #37, Spring 2000
Millennium Map of the Universe by the National Geographic Society
It's a beautiful heaven, shining aqua
arrangements on black, scattered
chips of pure turquoise, gold, sterling
white, ruby sand; dimmer clouds
of glowing stellar dust ; beads
like snow, like irregular pearls.
Last week, I thought this heaven was
god's body burning, as in the burning
bush never consumed, sudden flarings
of the omnipresence, the coal tips
of god's open hand, the brilliance of god's
streaming hair, the essence of grace
in flames, the idea of creation illuminated.
I believed each form of light and darkness
in that combustion was the glorious
art of god's body on fire, the only
possible origin of such art. Maybe god's
body remains invisible until it ignites
into its beginning. I could almost detect
the incense rising from that transfiguration.
But yesterday I believed it to be music,
the circling and spiraling of sound
in a pattern of light, a pattern I might
begin to perceive, each note, each count
and measure of the concert in progress
being visible, constellations of chords,
geysers of scales, the bell-like lyricism
of overlapping revolutions and orbits, deep
silent pauses of vacancy, as we might
expect, among the swells and trills,
the cacophony of timpani, the zinking
of strings. Yesterday this seemed
a reasonable thought, a pleasing
thought. It seemed possible.
Today, I see it is all signal numbers,
static and spate: the sun, 25,000 light --
years from the center of "our galactic
realm," around which we travel once
every 200 million years, you understand.
I don't resist the calculated mass of "our
supercluster." I don't deny those 100
trillion suns of our suns among which
we pass, turning over and over day
after night after day. The last "outpost"
in our cluster, before a desert cosmic
void begins, is named Virgo. I stop there
for rest and provisions, to water the horses,
pour oats in their trough, to cradle my child.
I wish I could sing like electrons
on a wheel. I wish I could burn
Pattiann Rogers, tiré de The Gettysburg Review, Spring 2000 : 13(2)
Place and Proximity
I'm surrounded by stars. They cover me completely like an invisible silk veil full of sequins. They touch me, one by one, everywhere-hands, shoulders, lips, ankle hollows, thigh reclusions.
Particular in their presence, like rain, they come also in streams, in storms. Careening, they define more precisely than wind. They enter, cheekbone, breastbone, spine, skull, moving out and in and out, through like threads, like weightless grains of beads in their orbits and rotations, their ritual passages.
They are the luminescence of blood and circuit the body. They are showers of fire filling the dark, myriad spaces of porous bone. What can be nearer to flesh than light ?
And I swallow stars. I eat stars. I breathe stars. I survive on stars. They sound precisely, humming in my nose, in my throat, on my tongue. Stars, stars.
They are above me suspended, drifting, caught in the loom of the elm, similarly enmeshed in my hair. They are below me straight down in the deep. I am immersed in stars. I swim through stars, their swells and currents. I walk on stars. They are less, they are more, even than water even than earth.
They come with immediacy. They are as bound to me as history. No knife, no death can part us.
Pattiann Rogers, tiré de Eating Bread and Honey (1997)
- The Poetry World of Pattiann Rogers : http://www.mindspring.com/~pattiann_rogers/
- The Academy of American Poets - Pattiann Rogers : http://www.poets.org/poets/poets.cfm?prmID=181
Oeuvres poétiques :
- The Expectations of Light (1981)
- The Tattooed Lady in the Garden (1986)
- Legendary Performance (1987)
- Splitting and Binding (1989)
- Geocentric (1993)
- Firekeeper, New and Selected Poems (1994)
- Eating Bread and Honey (1997)
- A Covenant of Seasons, in collaboration with artist Jolleyn Duesberry, (1998)
- The Dream of the Marsh Wren : Writing as Reciprocal Creation (1999)
- Song of the World Becoming : New and Collected Poems, 1981-2001 (2001)
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