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The Bordighera Poetry Prize

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Contemporary Italian American Writing

Winner of the 2009 Bordighera Poetry Prize:
Sponsored by the Sonia Raiziss-Giop Foundation

Carla Pancieri for No Day, No Dusk, No Love

Book Signing & Reading, Nov. 17th, 6:30 PM, 2010

John D. Calandra Institute CUNY, Mid-Manhattan. All welcome!

Where We Were | This Is What It Means| Here's to John Grimes

The winner of the 2009 annual $2,000 Bordighera Poetry Prize for bilingual book publication by Bordighera Press wass Carla Panciera, of Massachusetts, for her manuscript, No Day, No Dusk, No Love. Carla will receive $1,000 and a $1,000 honorarium will go to her Italian translator. Carla Panciere has published fiction, memoir, and poetry in many journals, including The New England Review, The Chattahoohee Review, Nimrod, Painted Bride, and The Clakamas Review. Her first collection of poetry, One of the Cimalores, received the Cider Press Book Award and was published in 2005. A high school English teacher, she lives in Rowley, MA, with her husband and three daughters. The following sample poems are from her winning manuscript.

Distinguished Poet Judge for 2009-20010, Patricia Fargnoli wrote of Pancieri''s poems: No Day, No Dusk, No Love, has everything: every poem is consistently excellent. These are mostly lyrics, deceptively simple poems rooted in a strong sense of place: rivers, ocean, pond, farm and in an equally strong sense of the importance of human connections and the aching/longing when they are lost. The craft in the poems is impeccable; the rhythms are easy, yet haunting. Panciera makes much use of internal rhyme, alliteration, assonance, consonance…all the tools of a poet who has learned her craft well and practiced it long. The images are specific, original , and imaginative. Seaweed, for example, is like a woman’s scarf; wind “makes a sea” of a river; a maple tree becomes “Narcissus.” But, even more than these, what finally made this manuscript leap to the top of the pile was the way the poems arrived at their stunning truths and sensitive questions: “Why return to a place we know so well” the author asks in “Half Moon Pond, Summer 2005;” or in “For My Mother Who Has Never Been to the Cape: “No one has lived here forever./ They walk so far along the beach they disappear.” ; or these lovely lines from “This Time of Day:” “No day, no dusk, no love, begins or ends in a moment;/ no day, no dusk, no love repeats its beauty or its sadness.” These are poems that desperately, beautifully “matter” and deserve reading again and again. I congratulate their maker.

The Bordighera Poetry Prize was founded by Daniela Gioseffi and Alfredo de Palchi, a trustee of The Sonia Raiziss-Giop Foundation, in 1997. Each judge serves for a two-year term. Guidelines for entry winners' and judges' work at: Bordighera Prize Guidelines

Sample poems by Carla Pancieri follow: WHERE WE WERE


The day Kennedy was shot, I rode in the grain cart
on a burlap sack, pajamas sticky with molasses.


My sister scooped around me, tossing cows their rations.
The pipeline’s vacuum pulsed. Cows sighed and grunted.


Pellet by pellet, I ate before the batting heads of Holsteins.
My sister sang I Could Have Danced All Night, then left to take a bath for school.


My father sang O Solo Mio, set me on his lap, my hand on cow belly.
The stool tied around his hips followed us udder to udder.


Tails swirling, the dogs dashed in as if with news. My father shooed them.
The manure spreader was busted, the grain bill overdue.


The next day, when the barn doors opened, old Faith and Lettie,
bull-shouldered Olive, all the rest, plodded to their places, hollered for food.


One dog sliced its paw open; the other licked it clean.
That’s how it goes, my father said. Ignore them and they’ll heal each other.


My sister pushed the grain cart with me atop, different pajamas.
My father sang Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.

THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS: ALLEGORY

--for Beatrice


What you want is a turtle.


Unless I find one trawling grass
on her way to an egg spot,
how can I deliver this wish?


So I bring you to the window
and show you:
Two turtles on a log.


Not good enough,
so I add: They're having a statue contest.


Blinking is allowed, as is
craning their wrinkly necks
for a turtleneck of sun.


Observation, your silence
is not unexpected. Your world
has always been quiet
as a pond.


The duck wiping a mirror
free of algae should not
be a distraction, I say.


Nor should the jug strum
of the bull frog
that loveless neighbor.


But you want a turtle
the way you wanted
a second piercing
in your ear,
a third dog,
root beer.


And you, Persistence,
could achieve this.


On your quads used
to handsprings,
back walkovers, tricks
unimaginable to the carapaced,
to the middle-aged,
you can frog-crouch forever.


The flies are playing, too,
the ultimate game
of chicken. They’re gambling
that statues don’t have appetites.


Tolerance. A sigh.


Archetype you restate your question
without speaking:
Is this something my mother can do?


You are Possibility
who looks at me one more time
as if the edges aren't blurred with reeds,
the branch in the pond’s true center.


Why isn’t it enough, the idea alone?
The idea and this devoted listener.


It will only be a little longer
before you understand.


Before Knowledge, before Fear.


Your mother can’t get those turtles
despite your wishing.


Her only net
is story.

HERE’S TO JOHN GRIMES

buried in the woods, 1764, who sought
no company eternally but had himself laid down
in the humus of the forest floor,


no more, John Grimes, no record of his birth,
of where he lived and if he loved and what his work
had been, but whose tombstone asks all who pass


to add a stone, and here it grows in silence
under trees, stone upon stone, the ground for paces
around, soft as flesh, and still


the living pause and hunt, compelled to honor one
who loved these woods or solitude
or tribute, until two hundred years the hands, the hands,


that made this pile then went on pointing out the birds
have been reduced to bone and less, and our hands now
so warm with stones we’ve walked awhile to find


contribute, so we can move back through copper light
that leaves above and underfoot produce as if
to guild us in the myth that we, too, will be remembered.

_____________________________________________________________
Copyright 2009 by Carla Panciere from No Day, No dusk, No Love, Bordighera Press @ Calandra Institute, NY, 2009.

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