#PoetryMonth – Story Time Friday with @MariaHaskins

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New Year Story Time Friday Banner

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See those two images up there? It wasn’t a mistake. Even during Poetry Month there’s room for Story Time Friday!

Like STF in general, I include poetry as the “story” part of the series title. Today, I have a poem from poet Maria Haskins to share. To go with that, Maria has been nice enough to share a bit of the story behind the poem, as well. I’m happy when I get to share a little bit of what goes on behind the piece itself, and this is no different.

You can also read up on the collection Maria’s poem came from after you’re done. And if you enjoy it, there’ll be another poem from this poet next week. It isn’t an STF post. It’s something even better! Don’t forget to come back for that one.

Now, I’ll hand the blog over to Maria, the real reason you’re here…

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This poem is from my latest collection of poetry, Cuts. It’s one of those poems that came to me very quickly. One morning when I got on Facebook, I found out that a very good friend of mine in Sweden had died of cancer. She’d been in remission for several years, and hadn’t told a lot of her friends that the cancer was back. That morning her husband messaged me and that’s how I found out she had passed away. It hit me hard, the suddenness and finality of it, and I wrote this poem that day because I was in so much pain: about her death, about not staying in touch with her more, about her and my own mortality. Most poems come a lot slower and harder for me, they grow over time, but this one arrived almost fully formed.

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Pain in Progress

(For another Maria.)

The lamps are lit
in every window.
I feel the warmth beneath my own hands
feel the flicker
inside my own room.

What lights the lamps?
What makes a fire
where there was only
wick and oil and breath of wind?
I don’t know.
But the lamps are lit
the light is everywhere
spilling through the curtains
through your fingers
through the glass
through the whispers in the hallway
through your eyes, half opened.

I can feel the light
in you
in me
warm in my hands
every word
every breath
every cut and bruise and scar
another bit of light.

And then the lamp is put out,
extinguished.
I didn’t see
didn’t hear
didn’t feel
it happen.
Where did the light go?
What puts out the lamps?
What takes away the light?
What makes the darkness
fall
crawl
slither
over the horizon
over the threshold
over your lips?
What eats away the light
devouring
chewing
ripping it out of your grip?
(Or did you let it?
Did you let it
go?
Did you let it
go out?)
I don’t know.

I’m cold.
I look across the field:
brown reeds broken by the weight of snow
trees crouching low
cradling the dusk
in arthritic branches.

The sky is
cut bruised scarred
and there is just a breath of wind
stroking the grass.

I see your window
on the other side.
The lamp is not lit.

I can still feel the glow.

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Would you like to read more poetry from Maria? You can find the collection that this poem came from, Cuts, on:

Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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Cuts - Maria Haskins‘Cuts’ is Maria Haskins’ first collection of poetry written in English. Also included in this book are her three previously published and very well-received collections of poetry: ‘Blå’ (‘Blue’), ‘Honung’ (‘Honey’), and ‘Den tredje’ (‘The Third’). All have been translated from the original Swedish to English by the author, and are available in English for the very first time.

Maria Haskins made her literary debut in Sweden in 1989 with ‘Blå’ (‘Blue’), a well-received collection of poetry published by Swedish publishing house Norstedts. Her two other collections of poetry ‘Honung’ (‘Honung’) from 1992, and ‘Den tredje’ (‘The Third’) from 1995 received many favourable reviews in Sweden, and her poetry has been included in several anthologies.

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About the Author:

self3Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and translator. She was born and grew up in Sweden, but since the early 1990s she lives just outside Vancouver on Canada’s west coast with a husband, two kids, and a very large black dog.

Her English language debut ‘Odin’s Eye’ – a collection of science fiction short-stories – was published in March, 2015. Her book ‘Cuts & Collected Poems 1989 – 2015’ was released on November 9, 2015, and includes both new poems written in English, and her own translations of her previously published Swedish poetry. She is currently writing fantasy and science fiction short stories. Two new short stories that will appear in an anthology in the Mind’s Eye Series, set to be published in 2016.

Find out more:

One response to “#PoetryMonth – Story Time Friday with @MariaHaskins

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