Due to unfortunate budget constraints arising from the current economic climate, the Summer Residency program has been temporarily suspended. The Poetry Center plans to reinstate the Summer Residency in the near future, and hopes that interested individuals will consider applying at that time.
The Poetry Center regrets any inconvenience this may have caused.
2008 Summer Residency recipient Kate Lynn Schirmer received an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University in 2006, and a Bachelors of Arts degree from Princeton University in 2003. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such publications as The Seneca Review, AGNI Online, The Sow's Ear Review, and MARGIE. She is the recipient of the 2008 MARGIE Strong Medicine Poetry Award and the co-first place winner of the 2005 Bennett Poetry Prize, administered through the Academy of American Poets. She currently resides in Baltimore, where she is working on publishing a full-length manuscript of poems.
Before history had begun,
when they laid the woman's body
in her grave of sand,
tucking mats of woven grass
and fur pelts around her limpidness,
the Egyptians made sure to curl
her in an ess, tucking skull
towards rising knees.
Arranged her limbs like a bowl of fruit.
Sometime in the same era
but a continent away, Neanderthal neighbors
also buried a lady in mid-life.
They wished bon voyage to the next world
by leaving her in a cave in France,
again curved head to shin, her skeleton
the delicate icon of a snake.
To show their affection, her family scattered
perforated bison teeth in the dirt
and colored her with red ochre.
On the stone above her zigzag
someone carved an image of a horse.
In this era, climbing between the sheets
I stack kneecap on kneecap, my femurs
the parallel lines of an electric plug.
Unconsciously my spine wilts to the left,
crustaceous; my hands slide
between my thighs in the chink
where they do not meet;
my hip bone rolls to bear
my weight horizontal.
I have always done this.
I have understood
the need to close up,
cradle the core and let the spine
bear the brunt, ready to roll
downhill if a jolt is dealt.
I place myself for rest
like settling into bedrock,
bones laced to a hug,
something in their mineral
In their lightless homes
they uncover the shape
that will birth me to whatever
replaces the dark,
the dawn that follows the sound of galloping.
---Kate Lynn Schirmer
poem produced during 2008 Summer Residency