This week, we are excited to offer a new poem by John Blair. Blair has published three prize-winning books of poetry, Playful Song Called Beautiful (winner of the Iowa Poetry Award, published Spring of 2016), The Occasions of Paradise (U. Tampa Press 2012), and The Green Girls (LSU Press/Pleiades Press 2003). His short story collection, American Standard, was the 2002 winner of the Drue Heinz Literature prize and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. He also has two novels from Ballantine/Del Rey, as well as poems and stories in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, The Sewanee Review, The Antioch Review, New Letters, and elsewhere. He is a professor in the English department at Texas State University, where he directs the undergraduate creative writing program.
As I’ve left behind the first half-century of my life, I have—much to my own surprise—become both a religious poet and a formalist, writing either in Romance forms, or, as with this poem, in strings of syllabically structured pseudo-haiku. As in many poems, religious or not, the idea of “What Gets Taken” is the loss of things, the ineluctable stripping away of all the crumbs and miscellany by which we know and define ourselves. In it, my Buddhist leanings and my Protestant past bump and merge finally into the Good Word of immanence.
What Gets Taken