Poetry Month 2016: Rita Brady Kiefer
Staying Power for Anna Akhmatova Even the swallows knew enough to leave, their wings plotting south in a sky sickened by winter. A sea-girl from Petersburg she drove Russian men mad, her song like balalaikas clinging. Even the muse perched on the bar stool beside her longed to be human, seeing her passion for lindens and bone china, her exquisite sex. Once walking to the cabaret she wept for the child she abandoned: I have other women’s dreams to haunt my mirrors. “Nun-harlot,” they dubbed her, a “vixen who mixes sin with prayer,” a portion that led her not to a tsarevich gleaming in the wings but to wives and mothers waiting in the wings, friends vanishing, she wore pain like angora through the long Russian thaw. Three-hundredth in the prison queue a woman behind her asked: Can you write of this? I can, she whispered. And she stayed. [From Crossing Borders] ~ From the Women Write the Rockies Web site: Crossing Borders is Rita Brady Kiefer’s first collections of poems to appear since Nesting Doll, a finalist for the 2000 Colorado Book Award. Since then she has also completed My Name Is Not Eve, a full-length play that evolved from 28 years of weekly writing sessions with survivors of domestic violence. EVE was eventually performed at the site of the noted Curious Theatre in Denver as a benefit for a local Denver women’s shelter, and at Mesa State University in Grand Junction. Also to her credit are two poetry chapbooks and almost 200 poems published in national and international journals, some translated for print in Argentina and Spain. Several poems have appeared in the anthologies: Face to Face (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and Hunger Enough (Pudding House Press), The Crimson Edge (Chicory Blue Press), and Beyond Lament (Northwestern University Press).