Category Archives: Uncategorized

A LITANY FOR FLANNERY

Flannery O’Connor would be ninety-one years old, as of March 25, 2016, had she survived the disease that killed her slowly for 13 long years, leaving her dead at 39. She grew up strange—an only child in a large extended family, a Catholic girl … Continue reading

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The Sacrament of Story

  I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb.” Herman Melville wrote these words to his fellow writer Nathaniel Hawthorne upon finishing his novel Moby-Dick. These are also the words I whispered to myself as I … Continue reading

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Crossing Irish

As a child, I never wanted to be Irish. This was a convenient circumstance, since I wasn’t. (My Irish name is my husband’s gift to this Sicilian girl.) Then I grew up and fell in love with poetry—English poetry first, … Continue reading

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New Year’s Eve Poem

  The turn of the year is Janus-faced.  We look forward as we look back, loathe to part with the past, yet eager to imagine the future. The poem below, from my book Moving House (2009), was written nearly a decade ago to express … Continue reading

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MIRRORING THE UNSEEN

‘Now, if you’ll only attend, Kitty, and not talk so much, I’ll tell you all my ideas about Looking-glass House. First, there’s the room you can see through the glass—that’s just the same as our drawing room, only the things … Continue reading

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TRAVELING MERCIES

I have been on pilgrimage this spring and traveled with boon companions.  I’ve kept late nights with Dorothy Day, toted Thomas Merton on the train, chuckled with Flannery O’Connor over her tales of kindred freaks, and got lost with Walker … Continue reading

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Seeing Red

SEEING RED Johnny: “In time you’ll see that this is the best thing, Loretta.” Loretta: “In time you’ll drop dead, and I’ll come to your funeral in a red dress!” — Loretta Castorini to Johnny Cammareri after he breaks off … Continue reading

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Ash Thursday

“Ash Thursday” happened by accident, like most poems. It’s also true. One evening in February, two years ago, I left my office at Fordham University in the Bronx earlier than usual. I had been invited to give a poetry reading … Continue reading

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The Semester Begins: Falling in Love

I am a teacher of Poetry. This means that several times a year I walk into a classroom, the seats filled with Bright Young People between the ages of 18 and 22, and try to make them fall in love … Continue reading

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New Year’s Meditation

The year begins & Christ hides hushed in the brambles and in the brush, in the long shadows on the long street, in the creases of the faces that I greet. Dryad of my back yard, Apollo of my morning, … Continue reading

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