Results of the Walt Whitman Award in the year 2004.
In poems of quiet force, Geri Doran maps the fragility of human connection and the irreducible fact of grief. From the communal ruptures of Chechnya and Rwanda to the personal dislocations that attend great loss, Resin weighs frailty against responsibility, damage against the desires of the heart. For the poet, a factory fire in late-nineteenth-century Portland becomes a tool for precise knowing: “The phases of wood are a means / of dead reckoning: burn what is built / and gauge your passage / by what is lost.” Even in so quotidian an act as the planting of potatoes, Doran’s sure, meticulous, and carefully calibrated lines reveal the intensity of our yearnings: “What carried us from year to year was yield: / potatoes in, potatoes out, like rowing.”
Variously plaintive, passionate, intuitive, and serious, the voice in Resin tells how the natural world, in both its wildness and regularity, expresses and mediates human longing.
You entered me like migraine, left
like migraine a private vacancy…