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LISA BICKMORE

 

 

Lisa Bickmore

Lisa Bickmore attended Brigham Young University where she received a B.A. (1979) and an M.A. (1984) in English, and did graduate work at the University of Utah. An associate professor in the English Department, she teaches composition, creative writing, and writing studies courses. Lisa’s book of poems Haste was published by Signature Press, and her scholarly and creative work has been published in such journals as Teaching English in the Two-Year College, Tar River Poetry, Caketrain, the Hunger Mountain Review, Terrain and Quarterly West. She was awarded the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Artists Award for the Literary Arts in 2008. Her current interests include digital forms of composition, the constantly shifting landscape of digital and print publication, and the power of narrative in argument, as well as a deep and abiding commitment to seeing movies in theaters as often as is humanly possible.


 

Highly Commended in the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition

 

 

Hill Country

 

The sheets shorn back, my hips at your mouth:

 

yesterday we bought white peaches

near the Pedernales River, which runs

 

through the ranch where LBJ lived out the last years

he had the prescience to know would be brief. 

Acre after acre he added

 

to the spread, to console a late despair. 

The fruit scents our room, where we’ve told ourselves

the past is past, in this interval far from home. 

 

A Sunday morning, this hotel room

—we can afford to take it slow,

even though the sky grays with smoke

 

drifting north from fires burning in Mexico. 

Another crisis, this time not ours.  Not ours,

the territory, the ranch’s soil which,

 

we were told, derives its dark strength

from the river, its cycle of flood

and decline, flood and decline. 

 

No erosion, despite the fitful havoc—

just laden trees and a profusion of blooms: 

evening primrose, bluebonnet,

 

wrinkled poppy, black-eyed Susan, thistle,

wild cosmos, and over all of it,

the birds fly, swoop and dive.

 

We’ll take our cue from them, the peaches

now spilling from their flimsy sack.  You’ll lift

 

your face to me, move up and over me nearer,

your lips and beard stained with juice,

the pulp and flesh of your tasting, eating.

 

©2013 Lisa Bickmore

 

Judge's Statement

This is a superb love poem that begins faraway from the place of love-making. The pacing and movement, the controlled layering of descriptions, all drive the poem to an inevitable conclusion where land and history are enfolded by the loves’ final tasting of what birds in the sky already know. Lovers take their cue from nature, from birds that fly, swoop and dive, rather than from the acquisitive old politician, LBJ. The poet here shows great control and steady technique.

 

 

Author Links

 

'Dog Aria': poem by Lisa Bickmore at the Utah Arts & Museums website

'Last Days': video essay by Bickmore at Terrain.org

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