Studies of Familiar Birds

Studies of Familiar Birds

by Carrie Green


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Poetry. Art. Carrie Green's STUDIES OF FAMILIAR BIRDS reflects upon the series of nest-and-egg illustrations that Virginia Jones saw to completion after her daughter, who had begun the project, died. The artist's loss in the late nineteenth century is presented in tandem with the poet's artistic response to the death of her own father. Other poems draw inspiration from altered vintage photographs in Sara Angelucci's Aviary series, or from firsthand observations of birds and humans. This collection, unique in subject and sensibility, is a special honoree of the 2019 Able Muse Book Award.

"Carrie Green's poems are as exquisitely crafted as the nests they depict, honoring the delicacy of loss. STUDIES OF FAMILIAR BIRDS explores, through elegy, ekphrasis, and ode, the tender affections for family and nature. Whether it is the nineteenth-century egg-and-nest illustrations of Genevieve and Virginia Jones, the avid gaze upon commonplace birds, or the remembrance of the poet's own beloved father, this collection of poems creates an aviary of light. Green writes with such grace and skill that the reader can't help but feel both the ache of having lost and the joy of having loved. I will return to this book again and again as it 'teach[es] us to sing our grief.'"--Amy Fleury

"Birds are the embodiment of freedom; unconstrained by terrestrial limitations, they lift effortlessly into the sky, forming a feathery link between Heaven and earth. People who have been visited by angels report they have bird wings. After losing her father to cancer, Carrie Green felt a kinship with Virginia Jones who endeavored to put her grief into concrete form by completing the drawings of nests and eggs for the book her daughter had just begun before she died in 1879. With words chosen as carefully as birds select components for a nest, STUDIES OF FAMILIAR BIRDS masterfully intertwines Carrie's insight into Virginia's griefwork with memories of her father and descriptions of altered photographs from Sara Angelucci's Aviary series, which merges images of endangered birds with anonymous nineteenth-century portraits."--Joy M. Kiser

"We associate poets with birds: they mourn, call, cry, warn, and fly to places the gravity-bound human body can only follow with ear, eye, and heart. Weaving accounts of winged things into unique receptacles for grief and praise 'But surely we all know/ this nest. We've found it/ in our coffee cans, / in our barns and privies-/ inside all our little caves/ of emptiness, mundane as pockets/ or a child's boot forgotten/ by the back door,' Green resists the temptation to anthropomorphize, honoring in her animal subjects their inimitable features, instincts, capacities, and wildness. Her archive is the warp and weft of the world's remnants, 'whether/ silk or weed stem,/ velvet or vine,' garnering from them wisdom on how to survive life's losses and to sing despite them."--Lisa Russ Spaar

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781773490649
Publisher: Able Muse Press
Publication date: 12/11/2020
Pages: 92
Sales rank: 989,420
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.22(d)

About the Author

Carrie Green earned her MFA at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and has received grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Kentucky Arts Council, and the Louisiana Division of the Arts. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry Northwest, River Styx, Flyway, Blackbird, Cave Wall, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere.

Table of Contents

vi Acknowledgments

3 The Studio

I. Rattling the Afternoon

7 At the Thursby House, Blue Spring State Park

8 Portrait of Man as Passenger Pigeon

10 Some Dreams You Remember

11 Ode to the Mourning Dove

13 Long-Billed Marsh Wren

14 House Wren

15 Robbing the Bees

16 After the Diagnosis

17 My Father’s Shirts

19 Blur

21 Portrait of Poet as Barn Owl

22 Praise Song for Wilson’s Thrush

II. The Ornithologist

25 Loggerhead Shrike

27 Portrait of Genevieve as a Young Woman

28 Portrait of Girl as Loggerhead Shrike

30 Green Heron

31 Study for Long-Billed Marsh Wren

32 Ode to the Blue Jay

34 Study for Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

35 Virginia Recalls the Aviary

36 Portrait of Young Woman as Red-Headed Woodpecker

38 Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

39 Quail

40 Cliff Swallow

41 Ode to the Purple Martin

43 Fever

44 Brown Thrush

45 Kentucky Warbler

47 Golden-Winged Warbler

III. Unfurl

52 Funeral

54 The Last Time My Father Left the House

55 I Wished I Could Knit

57 Migration

59 Portrait of Ornithologist as Short-Eared Owl

61 Test Drive

63 Rattle

65 Field Sketch for Meadow Lark

66 First Trip on the St. Martins River after My Father’s Death

68 Ode to the American Goldfinch

70 Things My Father Said

72 Portrait of Young Man as Non-Breeding Bobolink

74 Black-Capped Chickadee

76 Song for My Father

79 Notes

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