Table of Contents
The Bordighera Poetry Prize
(Wise Women's Web)
Cavalieri: 2005 Winnerof
The Bordighera Poetry Prize for Water On the Sun
Poem | Blue-Green Spirit
| Bread Soup | Nettie
of Maryland is winner of theBordighera
Poetry Prize, 2005, for her manuscript:
Water On the Sun, chosen by Distinguished Poet-Judge 2005-2006,
Grace Cavalieri, is the author of fourteen books and chapbooks of
poetry from small presses. Her most recent book, What I Would
Do For Love, (Jacaranda Press, 2004) is in the voice of 18th
century author Mary Wollstonecraft. Her play about Mary Wollstonecraft
("Hyena In Petticoats") is in development in New York.
Her latest children's book is Little Line. She has had
20 plays on American stages. Her current drama, "Quilting the
Sun," recently enjoyed a reading by its NYC cast at the Smithsonian
Institution. She has written texts and lyrics for opera authoring
two productions, "String of Pearls," and "Migrations."
She has written three radio dramas, which received national broadcast.
Cavalieri has produced and hosted "The Poet and the Poem"
on public radio, celebrating its 29th year in 2006. She records
the series from the Library of Congress, broadcasting via NPR satellite.
She is the book review editor for the montser rat review.com, and
reviews theater in her column, "America's Stage." Awards
include the Pen-Fiction Story Award, the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award,
The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry grant, The Corporation for
Public Broadcasting Silver Medal. She received the inaugural Columbia
Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library for "significant
contribution to poetry." Grace is married to the sculptor Kenneth
Flynn and they have four daughters and four grandchildren.
“Distinguished Poet-Judge” for 2005,
wrote of Grace Cavalieri’s poetry saying: "Cavalieri’s
is an imaginative, wise, and contemplative voice, with a sense
of surprise that awakens our thinking. One wants to dwell over
her poems which cover a large range of themes from a surreal and
dreamlike existence to family love and world crisis. This is original
poetry with a quirky and richly fanciful element. Yet, it is always
accessible to the heart and mind, even as it sometimes leaves
us wondering at the turns taken. Grace Cavalieri is not only a
good poet, but a woman who has given great devotion to American
poetry through these many years. I’m so pleased to discover
that she was the owner of the manuscript I chose anonymously from
the nine finalists all of whom displayed a range and intensity
of fine talent. I’m happy to give some added recognition
to Cavalieri and the other finalists.”
was chosen to translate Cavalieri's winning book. Enrico was born
in the U.S., grew up in Europe, and returned to America for undergraduate
studies at Barnard College at Columbia University (B.A.) and graduate
school at Catholic University (M.A. and Ph.D.). She has worked
as translation bureau chief for Berlitz, and executive director
of The American University of Rome, as well as Director of the
Modern Language Program at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
She is now Assistant Professor in the Modern Languages Department
at Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY. She speaks English,
Italian, French, and Spanish. Recent translations: The plays of
Dario D’Ambrosi, “Garbage” from Pinocchio Nero
by Marco Baliani, and“The Jar” by Luigi Pirandello.
Sample poems from Grace Cavalieri's Water
on the Sun, 2006, follow, with covers/titles of past books:
Each of us has a pond. Mine is deep. I
the water in a silence so clear
the bloom of desire melts from me,
lightning turns fire to the water of pleasure.
Fish are jumping in my heart,
no, they are real fish dreaming of me,
no it is not a dream,
this is a real heart.
Oh Dream Wanderer
with your message stick
with your rooster crowing,
where is the voice I spoke
after I was dead
before I was born?
How much has been left by the wayside?
If every dream were a tatoo
how would I look?
Would I start loving my skin
turning it in the light
holding up my arm to understand
what each flower means?
They say because the female bird
she flies only during Summer in Sweden,
Oh no, listen,
she is connected to the divine and
sings of her taste for life and death,
She sings until heard,
it is the voice we share where
nothing is lost.
In the orphanage in Russia
the children are rocking, like failures,
the hours are rocking. The child lies torpid
from listening to nothing.
No bird or breeze is permitted,
no road through his cloud.
I ask: What will they do this day of their
They stand hitting their
the bars like voices aching.
Tomorrow, we dream of harmony and truth.
We pretend blossoms grow out jaws
from numbed faces.
Each morning, blue eyes, close-cropped
bleached stares. Each morning, death waits.
It is the only caretaker we can find.
Cavalieri talking with Daniela Gioseffi
How to make it up to her?
She was no
stronger than the wheat
her father carried
to the altar in Sicily for his penance,
she was that frail, like the pale yellow Italian sun –
others becoming animals as
they grew but she – she
turning into the sky and
the ocean until
there was finally no place
else she could go.
I would make her broth
if the dead could drink, bring it in a tin cup.
I would take the stories out of the
vial of breath I've saved
in case my own breath should stop.
I'd give it to her, if it would help, but
this is of no use to her now.
I have so little to give up,
except -- maybe, fear-- which
exists only for itself.
Out of the crescent moon,
from these shapes
I hear my father's voice
calling me again, last night, low and
filled with a holding heart
I'd never heard before. Come
to yourself, he said.
In all her needs and through
meanings of her crying
the only thing left
is my father's voice
stronger than memory.
That was always my trouble
in trying to save her, his voice.
Now I remember her grief,
how she stood by my father's
chair as he stared angrily
out the window. There she is,
so slim. She wears a long
silken dress, her hands are like first speech.
This is progress I think, her sitting still
for it without falling apart --
he, finally speaking to me.
The dead are just as
involved as anyone else if you listen closely.
They are here to work it out with the living.
Copyright © 2005 by Grace Cavalieri from her book
on the Sun, Bordighera Press, 2006