Pure/Pour/A Priori

Joan_Kane-fullA Kane sampler (Anchorage daily news)

This poem won the college poetry division in the 2000 University of Alaska/Anchorage Daily News Creative Writing Contest:

Kane’s poetry is inspired, in part, by what she calls her « ancestral landscapes » on the Seward Peninsula and King Island.

She’d also like to take her children and her mother to King Island, an expensive and difficult proposition.

The remote settlement in the Bering Sea was abandoned under pressure from the government in the 1950s. Memories of the deserted village contribute to overtones of loss and change that haunt Kane’s poems. King Islanders retain a strong sense of identity with the place, though members of the younger generation — including Kane herself — have never been there.

Kane hopes to visit small communities in the future, to talk about writing and « bring books to others. »

« As a writer, you have to be concerned when you see all of these towns without bookstores, » she said.

Pure/Pour/A Priori

full moon’s rays spill

a skeleton path on water

tell me the spell

you held me under

simpler to undo

than the first split steps

I took towards you.

Wrath and swell

of the silt-black sea

heavy and mute

with the weight

of so much ice melting

returns agency

to me, and ease.

Eyes travel,

trace along the shape

of pure coincidence;

sere white falls hued

through night air,

valuable, and silvers

on the waves.

Shafts of light

unravel, reeling

towards shore: shine

relearns its shadow image

and I relearn more.

I can scarcely scrape

and scratch my eyes

across the moon’s rough

surface. To conjure

this drag and chase down

the fixed spines of time

and the firm arrival

at some great vein

of truth appears

difficult. My own

divinations, though, draw

me down the coast

and raise my eyes high

despite the bone-bright

glance of the naked

skeleton path on the water.

©— By Joan Kane

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