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Monday, July 24, 2017

The Poetry Show -- Dan Albergotti -- July 24, 2017

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Dan Albergotti has a B.A. (1986) and M.A. (1988) in English from Clemson University in South Carolina. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina (1995). After teaching at the university level for a few years, he returned to school once more, this time to earn a M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2002). Currently he is is a Professor and Chair of the Department of English at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, where he also edits the online journal that he founded, Waccamaw. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Charon's Manifest and The Use of the World (Unicorn Press, 2013). Additionally, he has published two full length poetry collections: The Boatloads (BOA Editions, 2008), which was chosen by Edward Hirsch as the winner of the A. Poplin Jr. Poetry Prize, and Millennial Teeth (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), which was chosen by Rodney Jones as the winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition. He has been published in Best New Poets, 2005, and in 2008, his poem "What They're Doing" was chosen for a Pushcart Prize. His other honors include a fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

In an interview published in storySouth, Daniel Cross Turner asked Albergotti what he thought the future of poetry was. Dan Albergotti replied, "More poetry. A series of heartbreaking disappointments and frustrating failures. Charlatans rewarded and geniuses dying unknown, their work forever lost. Despair, tears, syllables silent in the void. And the salvation of the human race."

While his first book, The Boatloads, was written in free verse, his second collection contains many formal poems. This week's featured poem, "Is It Okay If We Don't Oscillate Tonight?" from Millennial Teeth (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), is a sonnet composed entirely of questions.


Is it okay if we don't oscillate
between self-forgiveness and self-loathing?
Between the power to change things and fate?
Between simple nakedness and clothing?

Is it okay if the dull pendulum
doesn't swing from one side to the other
tonight? If there's only a steady hum
and sleep and no thoughts of the dead mother?

Could we escape self-scrutiny tonight
and find a tiny precipice of peace?
Is that allowed? Could we shut out the light
and rest our face on our wife's shoulder, please?

Could we, tonight, just listen to the weak,
droning whir of the fan and not its creak?

Writing prompt of the week: Write a poem entirely composed of questions, including the title. 

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