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In Plow Harrow Seed, poet Catherine Faurot considers technology - in particular analog technology - as an analogy for life and its transitions from matter to spirit. From lodestones to piezoelectric crystals, she contemplates the material world and the uses we make of it. In “The Carbon Microphone,” the transition from sound to light wave serves as metaphor: “Inside the mouthpiece a membrane taut with electric current / vibrates in concordance with the sound …/ The boundary itself trampolines the waves into the next realm.”
The collection itself moves through forms, from the opening poems about technology (including the delightful trope “God Reached His Apex When He Made Pink Shoes”) to intimate poems centered around human experience. These central poems, although concerned with life itself, again touch on technology. In “Soundings,” a sonogram briefly paints a dark picture and “Fate's teeth / flit over black tears.” In “Ventilator,” a baby lies with the “tube of life - or is it death - snaked / into the upturned cup of nose, taped / across the bridge of trust.”
The book closes with a triptych of poems, the titular Plow, Harrow, and Seed. Here human relationship with technology is not a playful manipulation of tools, but a reverse image: tools as brutal metaphor for the changes life brings us, as well as implements of transformation and new life.
From the book:
God Reached His Apex
When He Made Pink Shoes
Now that is
a different image
of Jacob's ladder -
clear plastic spiral
ascending into heaven,
a pair of shoes on each step,
tongue and groove
heel and spike
strap and unbuckle.
Take off your shoes, Moses:
you are standing on holy ground.
What did Moses' sister Miriam say
when she rose at dawn to prophesy,
sand cool against her feet,
flushed with the dawn's colors,
the fleeting pink of clouds reflected in her nail beds,
sky coral brushed into the cleft of her eyes,
the earth's dark rose in her marked places:
Miriam stoops to tie
her sandal. Her arch
is a lilac mystery, the leather
tinged with the blood it once carried,
the body and its artifice both holy,
each vivid with the dawn wind.
The ground is holy beneath her feet
and holy are the sandals
she has adorned with longing.
Catherine Faurot holds a master's degree from Dartmouth in creative writing and an undergraduate degree from Berkeley in religious studies. Plow Harrow Seed is her first collection of poetry. She is deeply interested in mythology, particularly in feminist re-imagining of myths, and mysticism. Her poems have been published in The Christian Century, Sierra Nevada College Review and Spectator. Ms. Faurot is the featured poet in Fall 2007 issue of The New Orphic Review.
Plow Harrow Seed
is a 48 page hand-sewn paper book with spine - $12.00
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