Reading Matters

Julie Suk’s sexy poems of love and death

I’m writing about a poet so I’ve been trying to think how to keep you awake.

What if I told you this particular poet, who reads Sunday at 2 p.m. at Park Road Books, is 91-years-old and writes the sexiest poems of anyone I know?

Maybe you’ve guessed. I’m talking about the inimitable, award-winning Julie Suk, whose new collection – her sixth – is aptly titled “Astonished to Wake.” Suk’s invidual poems have appeared over the years in the country’s most prestigious journals and literary reviews, including Poetry, TriQuarterly, the Georgia Review and Southern Poetry Review.

So what do I mean by “sexy”? I mean lines like these:

“I sweep away yesterday’s debris, / feckless clouds scudding off in tatters. / Each morning desire stirs in its nest, / thunder not yet loaded.”

Or: “...the bed empty, / the floor waxed with moonlight. / A long time since I first slid into your arms, / and learned to love the night.”

And her pitched awareness that death hovers:

“Praise and good morning to the pulse / that gives a lurch before it quits.”

And: “Don’t be astonished if you wake / splattered in blood. / Be astonished to wake.”

You’re all invited to Suk’s reading on Sunday. It’s free, of course.

Dannye: dpowell@charlotteobserver.com

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