I spent many years walking the deserts and climbing the mountains of Southern California. Now I spend time in the Eastern Forests from Maryland to Vermont and practice woodworking near the Anacostia River. I hold a PhD in Writing from the University of Houston. My poetry collections are The Terraced Mountain(Little Red Tree 2015), The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012) winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, The Language of Birds chapbook (Finishing Line 2011) and a forthcoming collection, The Book of Maps. Honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (in Israel), and Potomac Review Prize. My work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Asian Cha and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Currently I work in Washington, DC. and am an associate fiction editor at JMWW. More at: wflantry.com.
On Modern Sonnets
My bride brought home a teaset: iris blooms
handpainted over printed lines on clay
twice-kilned into a form you'd recognize
at sight: the handle and the swan neck spout
were ornamented suitably: perfumes
of ancient tealeaves lingered to convey
an honest sense of use, or to disguise
the crackled inside finish. Still, I doubt
she'll place it in our living room beside
the set marking our anniversary
whose interwoven cloisonnés provide
a constant gauge of beauty we agree
cannot be duplicated in the fast
attempt to imitate a jewelled past.
The Wife's Response
My cupboard's over-filled with china, yet
I loved the color and I loved the shape
and paisley caught my eye just after Mass:
our rummage sale over, I had eight
pieces for just eight dollars. The whole set
was wrapped in newsprint, hoping to escape
all notice. These would match our kitchen glass,
and countertops I'd had him fabricate
from my designs. The ancient set remains,
christened but once, unvaried, on display,
uneven, in concord (one cup contains
loose taper matches) on its silver tray.
I love them both. I should. I chose each one
for varied purposes, and I'm not done.
"On Modern Sonnets" and "The Wife's Response" first appeared together in The Lyric.
I stood there in the batter’s box near dusk,
my hands already talced, my cap just slant,
all limbering and loose, waved my turned bat
across the plate a couple times. I dug
my left foot way inside, my right foot braced
almost outside the line, and then looked up.
She nodded, wound, and let the first one go
straight down the middle. I took my best swing
and found only the empty air: Strike one.
I saw her fingers spinning on the next
and, liking curves, angled my swing towards right
but missed completely. Two. I saw her smirk.
The third came hot. Low and inside. I whiffed,
and stood there, shocked. I watched her wind again.
Ok, I said, why not? And this time swung
for center, deep. Her change up fooled my eye.
And so it went, past sunset, as she threw
and I kept missing while the darkness fell.
“Courtship” first appeared in the Frederick Literary Review.
©2016 W.F. Lantry