Poetry Book Club: Magnified by Minnie Bruce Pratt
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This collection of love poems draws us into the sacred liminal space that surrounds death. With her beloved gravely ill, poet and activist Minnie Bruce Pratt turns to daily walks and writing to find a way to go on in a world where injustice brings so much loss and death. Each poem is a pocket lens "to swivel out and magnify" the beauty in "the little glints, insignificant" that catch her eye: "The first flowers, smaller than this s." She also chronicles the quiet rooms of "pain and the body's memory," bringing the reader carefully into moments that will be familiar to anyone who has suffered similar loss. Even as she asks, "What's the use of poetry? Not one word comes back to talk me out of pain," the book delivers a vision of love that is boldly political and laced with a tumultuous hope that promises: "Revolution is bigger than both of us, revolution is a science that infers the future presence of us." This lucid poetry is a testimony to the radical act of being present and offers this balm: that the generative power of love continues after death.
Someone sang, Oh death! Oh death! Won't you
pass me over for another day? Someone said, I
dreamed of you last night. I dreamed you
were telling me your whole life story.
Whole. Whorled. Welkin, winkle, wrinkle.
The loop of time holds us all together.
The pile of laundry on the bed. You
folding socks one inside the other. We
have had this day, and now this night.
The clothes are put away, and from the bed we see
the moon folding light into darkness, not death.
MINNIE BRUCE PRATT (Syracuse, NY), an LGBTQ writer and activist originally from Alabama, is the author of nine books of poetry, creative nonfiction and political theory. She is a Managing Editor of Workers World/Mundo Obrero newspaper.