This week we feature a new poem by Corrie Williamson. Williamson studied poetry as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, and completed her MFA in Poetry at the University of Arkansas this past May, where she served as director of the Writers in the Schools Program, and taught creative writing. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals, most recently The Mid-American Review, Crab Orchard Review, The American Poetry Journal, Cumberland River Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Shenandoah, which awarded her their 2013 James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry. Currently, she lives and teaches in Helena, Montana.
Rather unromantically, this poem emerged from laying awake and listening to my boyfriend snore. Perhaps a bit more romantically, let me quote Emerson on etymology and naming: “Language is fossil poetry. As the limestone of the continent consists of infinite masses of the shells of animalcules, so language is made up of images, or tropes, which now, in their secondary use, have long ceased to remind us of their poetic origin. But the poet names the thing because he sees it, or comes one step nearer to it than any other. This expression or naming, is not art, but a second nature, grown out of the first, as a leaf out of a tree.” With this poem, I wanted to take simple words and sounds and trace a kind of dreamlike arc towards their historical or emotional hearts, to note both the beauty and the challenge of naming something. It’s a love poem to a physical person, as well as to the process of finding other ways of imagining love. It is also, I’ve always thought, a lullaby – a song to rock the boat of the self to sleep.
Love Poem for Naming