by Nicholas Samaras
If what we summon is not what we desire,
but what we are—then our petitions
must be from our best selves.
If what we give thanks for consuming
consumes us, be sure we can first
admire the art of our meal.
Take in only what will nourish.
Give thanks for bread
from the hands of friends.
Bring stories to the table
and our realest selves.
Before you move, be still.
Let the crisp tablecloth
hold up depth. Invoke
our lives and the lives
we offer back.
Give us only the lovely
lies that show the truth.
[From American Psalm, World Psalm]
* * *
From the publisher’s Web site:
Nicholas Samaras’ background is multinational and multicultural. Born in Foxton, Cambridgeshire, England, living there and on the island of Patmos, Greece (the Island of the “Apocalypse”), he has lived in Greece, England, Wales, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Jerusalem, and thirteen states in America. He writes from a place of permanent exile. His individual poems have been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Kenyon Review, and many other publications. Fellowship Awards include the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Lilly Endowment Foundation, etc. His first book of poetry, Hands of the Saddlemaker, received the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. American Psalm, World Psalm (Ashland Poetry Press, 2014) is his second collection.
American Psalm, World Psalm is actually Nick’s third collection. His second, the beautiful and harrowing Survivors of the Moving Earth, was considered too short (76 pages, I believe) to count as a “book.” Certainly thin by comparison with the 230-page American Psalm…, Survivors is nevertheless a powerful collection that’s well worth reading.
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