A Memory of the Future

A Memory of the Future

by Elizabeth Spires


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Zen-infused meditations on the limitations of memory, mortality, and the boundaries of human existence.

In A Memory of the Future, critically acclaimed poet Elizabeth Spires reflects on selfhood and the search for a core identity. Inspired by the tradition of poetic interest in Zen, Spires explores the noisy space of the mind, interrogating the necessary divide between the social persona that navigates the world and the artist’s secret self. With vivid, careful attention to the minute details of everyday moments, A Memory of the Future observes, questions, and meditates on the ordinary, attempting to make sense of the boundaries of existence.

As the poems move from Zen reflections outward into the identifiable worlds of Manhattan, Maine, and Maryland’s Eastern shore, houses, both real and imagined, become metaphorical extensions of the self and psyche. These poems ask the unanswerable questions that become more pressing in the second half of life. How are we changed by the passage of time? How does memory define and shape us? As Spires reminds us, any memory of the future will become, paradoxically, a memory of the past, and of forgetting.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393651058
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 07/24/2018
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.20(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Spires is the author of seven poetry collections, including Worldling and The Wave-Maker. Her poetry has appeared in the Atlantic and The New Yorker, among other publications. A professor at Goucher College, she lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Pome 3

Life of i 7

Cloud Koan 9

$$$ 11

Riddle 13

I 14

Zen Sonnet 16

The Road 17

Enso 20

The Sound of the Sea at the Shore 22

Mountains of the Heart 24

Light Like Water 29

They Drive Through Childhood in Their Little Cars 31

The Amiable Child 32

March: St. John the Divine 34

The Streaming 35

Pigeon 7 A.M. 37

On Riverside Drive 39

Small as a Seed 41

She Leans 42

Island Graveyard 43

Magicicada 46

Gold Bug 48

The Shrine 53

Dream Interrupted- 54

Constructing a Religion 56

Picture of a Soul 58

Small Prayer 59

House of String 60

Snow, the Novel 63

Sake 64

Starry Night 66

Riddle 67

A Memory of the Future 68

My Life 69

Crab 73

Notes 76

Acknowledgments 79

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