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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

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

The first thing I learned was to look wide
at the darkness

and not want anything. He'd say, Just look 
at the darkness

and tell me what you see. I'd say, I see stars or
Just the stars, Dad.

And he'd say, Don't call them that yet. What do you

poem
Some lose children in lonelier ways:
tetanus, hard falls, stubborn fevers

that soak the bedclothes five nights running.
Our two boys went out to skate, broke

through the ice like battleships, came back
to us in canvas bags: curled

fossils held fast in ancient stone,
four hands reaching. Then two

sad beds