Award Winners

Robert H. Winner Memorial Award - 2002

Margo Berdeshevsky


(does not seem to contain a main clause)

As though it interrupted the rain, this arabesque
kick of silver. Spun sand-veil, in the storm.
Its broken bodies
Light. As though the small across the dim    stopped
the road. Or as if shyness surrendered its torture, in order
to laugh. As though a war heard its name, and listened
to prayer. As
though last light would wait for my own entrance,
skirt hem dirty but so utterly available.

If light, used, as an old idea, fractured shard plunged in
as a murder undeserved and terrible. And told as often as
the death of Christ,    this is how it is, this is how it was.

If light crashed and I    walked in it, insistent,
if I entered and if it hurt.
And if the dark were no heroine with a tragic flaw,
not strange.
As though a simple stop. Mere veil, to save it. Light,
I mean, broken, as a spine. Light, at the borders of
our sentence, living on the train of the gown
as we do, available for lifting.
Here is what it has led to.

Marie Ponsot on Margo Berdeshevsky

This is a manuscript of exceptional immediacy. It speaks, and we are there. We are, at once, present, face to face with the poem and vulnerable to it. I think that is because the poem's speaker is vulnerable and present, too. Images bounce and flex and rush through Margo Berdeshevsky's lines, resonant and radiant, making a fierce logic of language all their own. ("Black imprint of a garden, of an endlessly mended / woman, of love"). Even the landscapes here and abroad are not just viewed as background, but are places we enter. ("The baby gull throats yell/ for music...")

"Errant for love," Margo Berdeshevsky has produced an irresistible text.