Monday, January 09, 2006

Special issue of Ygrasil: The Poetry of Barbara Ostrander

The January 2006 issue of Ygrasil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts is a special issue that I prepared--

Ygrasil, January 2006: an appreciation of Barbara Ostrander's poetry by Christopher T. George.


Christopher T. George

The Poetry of Barbara Ostrander (1956-2005):
An Appreciation


The Poetry of Barbara Ostrander:

Africa Unleashed
Intensive Care Nurse
Raxaul, Armpit of India
Yeti Airlines From Raxaul, India, Back to Kathmandu
Shucking it down to the cob
broken dreams
story goes like this...
I'll Never Get Used to These Words
Cat Nap


The Editor/Publisher for Ygrasil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts is Klaus J. Gerken.

The below poem I include here because it is one of Barbara's best, and says so much about who she was--

As I wrote in the introduction to the poem, Barbara began writing poetry as a child and a number of her poems are about her time in Africa. I view the following poem as one of her best, sensuously binding the love of her husband with longing for Africa, while ever mindful of the wildness, beauty, and dangers of the continent.

Africa Unleashed

I wonder if it is the way you pace
soft-pawed by the window
that makes me think of home.
You watch for me to reappear,
a lion on the move.

Or maybe it's the way your nostrils flare
that brings to mind the gazelle standing alert,
knowing it's being watched
sinew-tense, aware.

I map out beneath my fingertips
the parched plains of the Serengeti,
feel along your spine and hips
the urgency of the dry season,
poised for the rains.

Your heat soaks my skin,
consumes like a bushfire,
leaves me stretched spent,
a lizard on the windowsill,
limbs languid and still.

I smell in you the raw nerves
of Africa unleashed,
close my eyes, breathe deep
of home.

Barbara Ostrander

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