Shara Lessley: A Poem I Love

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Editors Note: In honor of National Poetry Month, The Rumpus has asked writers to provide us with poems they love, and the reasons why. We’re also including links to these poems in their entirety. We’ll be doing this all month.

Steve Scafidi: “For the Eighth Annual Celebration of St. Cecilia, the Patron Saint of Music, Purcellville, Virginia, November 1999”

I’m a sucker for syntax, and no one does the run-on quite like Steve Scafidi. In “For the Eighth Annual Celebration of St. Cecilia, the Patron Saint of Music, Purcellville, Virginia, November 1999,” form enacts meaning: in one sentence, each phrase rushes into the next joining sounds and stanzas to make a “music so great / no passage of time could ever kill it.” Like the best poems, “For the Eighth Annual Celebration…” dissolves boundaries of time and geography; it is both present – in and of its celebratory moment – and outside of real time, relying on quick temporal shifts to transport its reader from Purcellville to “ancient cities of / Cleveland or Sacramento,” as well as an imagined future in a Nigerian fishing boat. With its musical integrity and unabashed expression of joy, I can think of no better poem to open National Poetry Month than Scafidi’s energized and energizing ode.


In honor of National Poetry Month, The Rumpus has asked writers of all stripes to provide us with a poem they love, the reasons why, and where said poem might be found. More from this author →