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About this poet

Born in central Connecticut, Gabrielle Calvocoressi grew up in a family that owned movie theaters in several small towns across the state. She studied at Sarah Lawrence College and earned her MFA from Columbia University.

Calvocoressi's first book, The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart (Persea Books, 2005), was shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and won the 2006 Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. Her second collection, Apocalyptic Swing (Persea Books, 2009), was a finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She is also the author of Rocket Fantastic (Persea Books, 2017).

A Booklist review for The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart notes: "There is something distinctly American not only in the rural towns she depicts and the voices she 'channels' but also in a brutally honest yet compassionately tender revelation of hidden truths. Calvocoressi has moved beyond the popular poetry of 'self' in an effort to understand other perspectives in this original and riveting collection."

Calvocoressi's awards and honors include a Stegner Fellowship, a Jones Lectureship at Stanford University and a Rona Jaffe Women Writers' Award. Her poem "Circus Fire, 1944" received The Paris Review's Bernard F. Connors Prize. She teaches at the MFA programs at California College of Arts in San Francisco and at Warren Wilson College. She also runs the sports desk for the Best American Poetry Blog.

[(symbol)’s really beautiful. When (symbol)’s standing in the trees]

[symbol]’s really beautiful. When [symbol]’s standing in the trees
and thinks nobody sees whose. [symbol]’s like a stag.
Which sounds silly but [symbol] is. The way the light shines


on whose. The way it bounces off whose hair
like spray from the sprinkler. And [symbol] doesn’t know.
Because [symbol]’s looking somewhere else.

 

Maybe up at a bird?       I was standing
and turned back because I heard
                                               whose whistling.


[symbol] thought I wasn’t listening.
                                              [symbol] wasn’t thinking of me.
[symbol] was looking at a bird


who was sitting in the tree
and looking back at whose.
                                               If whose shirt was off [symbol]’d


have been dappled golden by the sun
coming through the leaves. [symbol] didn’t notice me
watching whose without whose shirt on.


                                              [symbol] was standing in the forest
                                               and the sun was coming
                                               through the trees and covering whose.


[symbol] glowed.
I knew [symbol]’d be warm if I walked up and
touched whose. And probably not mad.
 

                                              [symbol]’s like something in a movie
                                               or like a book we’d read in summer by the pool.
 

[symbol] didn’t see me looking
because [symbol] was so peaceful
staring at the bird.

 

*Title should read: 
[symbol]’s really beautiful. When [symbol]’s standing in the trees

From Rocket Fantastic (Persea Books, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Used with the permission of Persea Books. 

From Rocket Fantastic (Persea Books, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Used with the permission of Persea Books. 

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gabrielle Calvocoressi's most recent poetry collection is Rocket Fantastic (Persea Books, 2017).

by this poet

poem

He's really beautiful. When he's standing in the trees like that and thinks nobody sees him. He's like a stag. Which sounds silly but he is. The way the light shines on him. The way it bounces off his hair like spray from the sprinkler. And he doesn't know it right then. Because he's looking somewhere else. Maybe

poem

Locked away we’re like a Russian novel:

                                               the hermit and the cowboy,

me stepping from the train.

                                               A world of snow. Whose Great Coat a den

of baby foxes skinned and sewn

poem
It's ridiculous what fame
can buy you. Not the beast
but the tiny, frightened
man who brings him
in a cage from Alhambra,
who stands in the doorway
as the three girls finish,
get off the bed and walk down 
to the pool, giggling as they pass.
The Bandleader borrowed
a tiger because we saw it 
in a reel the studio