Jim Minick


To Robert Frost 

You said there was a singer everyone
had heard, a joke, I’m sure, even then,
a hundred years ago. But here’s the jest
I have to use each time I teach your poem,
“No turkey here, no culinary test,
no, this bird’s a funny warbler who builds
a funny nest.”

                            When I was young, my home
had woods and ovenbirds galore, that pealed 
like hammers their “teacher” song in woods that live
no more. What happens to directives
like ‘in singing not to sing’ when 
forests fill with emptiness, 
and no bird’s left to sing? Forgotten
implies memory, never the less. 


Jim Minick is the author of four books, the most recent, The Blueberry Years (Thomas Dunne, 2010), a memoir that won the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year from Southern Independent Booksellers Association. His novel, Fire Is Your Water (Ohio UP), is due out in 2017, and he was recently awarded the Jean Ritchie Fellowship. His work has appeared in many publications including Oxford American, Shenandoah, Orion, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Sun. Currently, he is Assistant Professor at Augusta University and Core Faculty in Converse College’s low-residency MFA program. 


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