Sometimes when a poem gives birth to another poem, we honor the original poet in the title. It may even be titled the same but with “After Robert Frost,” or whomever, tagged on. Other times the new work calls for a different title altogether, but the original poet is recognized in an epigraph, a quote from the original piece. That’s the case with today’s poem
I decided to record “Stray,” a piece from “Angels & Adultery,” my newest chapbook, selected by Nickole Brown for the Robin Becker Series at Seven Kitchens Press. You’ll notice I link to the chapbook frequently. It’s a lovely little hand-sewn work from editor and publisher, Ron Mohring, and the price is honestly a steal for less than $10.
This poem has been through multiple incarnations, and appeared in a just slightly different form, featured with Brian Fanelli and Jason Allen in Contemporary American Voices back in 2013. This version is a bit shorter. I want to say leaner, so lean that it begs to be read slowly. I suppose that’s not a bad thing. It’s such a miniature scene, a fleeting moment at a grocery store, one in which the imagination entertains a seemingly random, stray thought.
Two years ago I was recording a series of William Stafford poems, and the poem which inspired “Stray” was in that batch, so I thought it would be interesting to include it here, in its entirety, and to ponder how much the new piece adheres to the original, expands on it, or pardon the pun, strays from it. If you like it, I’m hoping you’ll click on one of the links on this page to order it, or just click here to read another short sample, and click on the purchase link.
“Here’s Saint Mathew and All,” with the beat up text from my worn old copy of Stafford’s 1987 An Oregon Message:
And my poem from Angels & Adultery, Seven Kitchens Press, May 2018:
So, let me know what you think. Let me know if you’ve ordered the chapbook, and if you like what you read, please do me the honor and favor of passing the word along.