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For Educators

The Actual Moon, The Actual Stars
Chris Forhan; Robert Cording, fwd.

Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize

Northeastern University Press
2003 • 86 pp. 6 x 8 1/4"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-55553-594-0

Winner of the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize

“Over and over again, these poems shape the tensions that arise from Stevens' 'ever restless mind' and the world around us . . . Only the human speaker asks 'what is one to do' on a perfectly beautiful night when a fern 'rooted at the road's edge/casts the shadow of an infant's ribs.' 'No Comment,' the title of this collection's first poem, is Forhan's wonderfully wry answer . . . Thankfully, Chris Forhan cannot hold his tongue, and, in the poems that follow-often lit by a playful sense of humor and a voice that is truly engaging-he creates a landscape that is both intensely physical and replete with the age-old questions.” -- From the Foreword

From the Book:

Late Meditation

Night again, and I'm not impressed:
the blurred cedar, blowzy in her black dress,
the bat's manic acrobatics -- he tries too hard --
the hooligan raccoon routing in the brush,
and above all this the familiar, gaudy
glitter of the stars. Once I felt invited
to praise these things. Once I felt obliged.
Inviolable night, I said. Love's rustling curtain.
My hornbook, my slow ship to stow away on.
It took a long time to discover night
is a slate one writes on with the chalk
of desire. Look. The moon is thin as a dime.
It goes, and the sun comes up shrunken, low,
something to poke with a broom
and plunk, hissing, into a water bucket.
What I said, I'd like to take it back.


Winner of the 2003 Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize

Chris Forhan was raised in Seattle and educated at Washington State University (B.A.), the University of New Hampshire (M.A.), and the University of Virginia (M.F.A.). His first book, Forgive Us Our Happiness, won the Bakeless Prize. He has also published two chapbooks, x and Crumbs of Bread. His poetry has won a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, New England Review, Parnassus, and other magazines. He teaches at Auburn University and in the Warren Wilson M.F.A. Program. He lives in Auburn, Alabama. ROBERT CORDING is the Barrett Family Professor of Creative Writing at the College of the Holy Cross and the author of four books of poems: Life-list, What Binds Us to this World, Heavy Grace, and Against Consolation. He lives in Connecticut.

Thu, 1 May 2014 09:18:55 -0500