Winter 2012 • Vol. XXXIV No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2012 |

Fadwa: The Education of the Poet

When I was made prisoner in my father's house my mother turned away, swallowing her words. The potholed path to school became a vision of my lost future. It was not even because of a letter― a boy from the boys' school entrusted a flower, an almond sprig, for me, to my little brother that was intercepted by our middle brother. I was twelve. I was no longer to leave the house. If that twig in blossom sullied an imagined flower the metaphor wasn't mine. I had no words for my ignorance, or innocence. I copied letter after wobbly letter on my school slate. My vision was, astigmatic, strained. Was their double vision god's eyes? Six months later, my eldest brother came back, his studies done, Doctor of Letters. He shelved his books in the attic room of the house that became a hive, crawling and buzzing with words and dripping the honey of words on a carpet of flowers. My days were dust and water, starch and flour, chores, silence, shame. I could not envision the s

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Marilyn Hacker is the author of twelve books of poems, most recently Names (W.W. Norton 2010), and of ten collections of poetry translated from French. She received the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation in 2009 for Marie Etienne’s King of a Hundred Horsemen. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a former editor of The Kenyon Review.

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By Marilyn Hacker

When I was made prisoner in my father's house my mother turned away, swallowing her words. The potholed path to school became a vision of my lost future. It was […]

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