Dream of Leaving

Original price was: $14.00.Current price is: $10.00.

poems by

Sharon Leiter

Poetry book, 90 pages, $14 cover price

($10 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-085-5

Released: 2007

***This title was selected for publication after finishing as a finalist in the 2007 MSR Poetry Book Award contest. ***

Sharon Leiter is the author of another volume of poetry, The Lady and the Bailiff of Time (Ardis), as well as of two works of literary scholarship, Akhmatova’s Petersburg (University of Pennsylvania Press) and Critical Companion to Emily Dickinson: A Literary Reference to Her Life and Work (Facts on File). Her poetry has appeared in Atlanta Review, Cimarron Review, The Georgia Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other journals. She has published fiction and essays and was the recipient of a 1990 Virginia Award for Fiction. She serves as poetry editor of Streetlight, a journal of art and literature for Charlottesville and surrounding areas. Leiter has a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Michigan and teaches literature at the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Program at the University of Virginia. She lives in Palmyra, Virginia, with her husband Darryl Leiter, an astrophysicist.

With lyric grace and daring imagery the poet proves that to dance on the edge of the razor is to be fully alive: facing the paradox of time’s fragile strand and the half-life shine of lasting love. Each poem glows like a sickle moon over the sleeper’s dream.

Judy Longley
Author of My Journey Toward You

In The Dream of Leaving, Sharon Leiter explores a territory all her own, questioning and probing with a lyric intelligence that is not easily satisfied or easily dismayed. She can celebrate a woods “never divided/between flowering/and dying,” even as she recognizes her own human fate and that of those she loves as something far more complex, disturbing, and dignified. These poems add their own special grace to that stark recognition.

—Gregory Orr
Author of Concerning the Book
that is the Body of the Beloved

The Dream of Leaving is filled with keenness and surprise. The predominant themes—travel and memory, abandonment and trickery—matter because of their distinct pitch. Listen for how it uncalcifies. These poems awaken and breathe.

—Charlotte Matthews
Author of Green Stars

Still Susceptible

It may be heresy,
but anything even faintly
reeking of younger years
pulls my soul right out of me.

Walk in spring, you’re bound
to catch a whiff.
Right away your body
remembers itself:
a body like a lake,
languid, opaque
sapphire, dreaming
in its own desire.

Be mature, you plead,
ripe, like an apple
ready to be picked!
Easy for you to say.
But I’ve already been.

The Beast

There is a beast
at the bottom of the water
and it breathes.

The shape of the beast
is unimaginable.
I mean this literally.
You cannot twist your mind,
your will, your litany of language
around the shape
of this beast.
The thought of naming it?
A joke.

Still, do not despair.
The beast breathes.
From the flood of bubbles
it sends up, some few survive
and cling to the fine line
dividing wet from dry.

If you’ve the slightest
skill in prophecy
from all your years in
the world, garner some tale
from those tiny eruptions.

It won’t be true.
It won’t be the one that was told.

Still, do it.

If nothing else, you’ll understand
the roiling of the water
came, not from the weather
we walk in, but from the deep,
buried shape of belief.

Daddy Sold the Car

Gave it away, more likely,
to his no account son-in-law.

Walked right away from his driving days.

Counted his profits in lesser losses.
No gas, insurance, taxes,
no more cocking his bad ear
to the sound of trouble coming.

Sure Mother agreed.
You should hear how relieved.

Solly can drive us to the doctors.
And what? You never heard of car services?
Two bucks to Waldbaum’s and back.
What could beat that?

Sure I remember buying the–whaddid
you call it?–the everglade green Mercury,
and the way you girls screamed
when I pulled the wad of hundreds
from my pocket. Who had credit then?
Who even heard of it?
Sure I remember all those trips
to Manhattan, the beach, the mountains,
whatever you girls wanted.

Sharon, Sharon,
a time comes and goes.

And where do we go these days anyway?

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