Saturday Oct 20

HulykSarahSarah Hulyk just finished her undergraduate career at Waynesburg University. With a brand new BA in Creative Writing, Sarah is heading to Louisiana  in August to pursue an MFA in poetry at Louisiana State University.  Her work can also be found in Muse & Stone. Aside from writing, Sarah enjoys running, acting, and playing bingo.

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Sarah Hulyk introduced by Martin Cockroft

 

Sarah Hulyk’s poetry is both careful and daring.

Shrugging off the insouciance of some of her contemporaries, Sarah is not afraid to take seriously the subjects of her poems, and her poetry has the formal rigor of free verse that, as Eliot said, is never free for those who want to write well.

This careful approach is balanced by her admiration for the deep image poets. The image that anchors Sarah’s writing is not, as Bly wrote of imagism, an arid picture made with words, but rather “an animal native to the imagination.”  As such, Bly’s image is risky.  Sarah meets this risk with aplomb in lines like these:

          You took flight then
          as a bird with weeping feathers,
          long, forked tail drooping, reaching for the ground.
                                                                                                  (“Poem for Sappho”)

And while her study of Antonio Machado and Garcia Lorca is apparent, I also detect some of Basho and Issa’s attention to word and silence, Charles Wright’s long, effortless line, and Jane Kenyon’s elevation of the ordinary.

Sarah’s is a voice I’m honored to introduce—a voice I look forward to hearing in the future as it gains clarity and resonance.

                                                                                                   Martin Cockroft

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Mass for the Forgotten

 

During long Thursday mornings,
           when the moon remained a sleepless icon in the sky,
the tall priest smoked

           on his porch steps and watched the bright sun resting
above the church steeple.

No one attended mass on those days—
—not even the priest.
The fog, slipping into the sanctuary, hung thick,

and warped the back pews.
Had anyone been praying, their lungs
would have filled with old incense and candle wax.

The priest's smoke hid within the fog
and found its way to the roof
where it clung to the rusted bells.

 


Poem for Sappho

 

Sappho,
            I saw you wandering
and wondering
near the gray pines.

Your hands
            digging into the damp, dark earth,
shaking her yellow soul.
Her mouth
spoke your name softly
and fearfully.

You took flight then
as a bird with weeping feathers,
long, forked tail drooping, reaching for the ground.

 


City Walk

 

Breathe the heavy
            sighs of the city with me.
Pray on the crumbling stoop of my mouth.

I pick bright embers
from your hair and mine, toss

them, like bread to birds, for our unborn
children who have followed us

(as ghosts—dark with the gift
of waiting)

since the sidewalk began.

 


Oil

 

In the pot of oil
sat a man, filling up the whole
jar with his brown skin
knees against the clay side, head
tipped to look at whoever comes
for oil and finds him.

 


Praying Mantis

 

Both of us alone, hands together.

You blush on the brick wall, and I—
           I wait for the rain to begin, for the wind
to shake your thin body, to lift and carry you
toward the black, wet handrail.

The people yelling in the parking lot cling to each
other, and I think of you,
            upside down on the screen of my kitchen window,

how, earlier, I'd seen you shuffling
across the pavement.

 


Dead Hummingbird

 

When we first saw the dead hummingbird,
            rumpled and bent on the pavement,
we agreed it was the saddest
            thing we'd ever seen.

Its white breast and green wings
            waiting for an empty shoebox

And as we passed
feet thumping instead of its loosened heart
I thought
           how much my mother loves hummingbirds.