Soon I Will Build An Ark


In stock

poems by


Wendy Scott

Poetry book, 68 pages, cover price $14

ISBN: 978-1-59948-460-0

Release date: April 2014



Wendy Scott
Wendy Scott has taught composition and creative writing at a variety of colleges and other institutions, including a women’s halfway house. She has also worked as a social worker and a communications writer. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Paterson Literary Review, Fourth River, Oakland Review, Pittsburgh Quarterly, Voices from the Attic, Pittsburgh City Paper, and Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, among others. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA.

Wendy Scott’s revelatory new work is a triumph of lyricism and light. Deftly-crafted stanzas engage and illuminate–but the real attraction here is the presence of unflinching narrative, a sense of story that gives each poem a life far beyond the page it’s printed on. –Patricia Smith


The subjects of Wendy Scott’s poems in Soon I Will Build an Ark are not so unusual: family memories, scenes from work, ‘nature,’ a college reunion, days and nights with friends and lovers. But these well-made poems click because of Scott’s sense of irony/humor and the many surprises they contain: a friend who goes to an AA meeting with a bottle of Captain Morgan in his pocket; an elderly mother having plastic surgery–again; a sexual partner singing “dunn Dunn DUnn DUNN” from Beethoven’s Fifth. This is a book that’s emotionally moving. . . and fun to read. –Ed Ochester,  Editor, Pitt Poetry Series,  Author of Unreconstructed: Poems Selected and New


Like Ammunition by Wendy Scott is a stunning book of risk and transgression. Scott takes us into violence and keeps us there until we feel it. There is no backing off of difficult material, but rather an embrace of the terrors of childhood and family that are often camouflaged. Through leaping narratives and systematic reporting, Scott finds a way to praise, injecting her lines with vibrant language: Soon I will build an ark, draw a rocket, soar over rooftops, sew seven shirts of starwort, grow a giant peach, shrink until I live under floorboards, travel by hot air balloon, ride a star railroad, clean my volcanoes, leave. –Jan Beatty

My Dad Liked Every Rule He Ever Heard

Dad’s kitchen table, glass top,
covered with detergent boxes,
all emptied, saved. Print receipts inside:
$2.00 for the New York Times
from Barnes & Noble every day.
$5.89—donut holes every Wednesday.
He drank a lot of 20 oz. Diet Coke.

Hundreds in each box
that once held Ultra Surf.
He requested them at turnpike stiles,
with fast food, from street
vendors, parking garages.
I imagine his mother
waving her index finger,
straw hat bobbing.
Save your receipt.

Dad liked every rule he ever heard,
how they ordered his day.
Receipts went in the right
pocket of the blue windbreaker
he wore every day, into
the pocket just above
his abdomen where
the tumor grew.

The Kill

Wedged in an address book I find five lines
I wrote on folded notebook paper:

I saw myself as an ocean, afraid of what’s beneath,
an eagle swooping to its surface. Today I type

I’m an ocean, and a Peregrine dives, kills a sparrow
outside my window, lands on a branch

of the sycamore across the street. Picked that apartment
for its view, remember the falcon’s struggle to eat its kill

without falling. Decades ago, my grandfather got binoculars
from the dashboard. We all stood on the shoulder,

took turns watching the eagle circling through the lens.
Everglades Park: we watched a Northern Harrier

eating a live black snake, its tail writhing
like a whip, like a snapped cable.

History of Ornament

I served beer from quarter-kegs
to graduate students of industrial administration
at my alma mater. Passing trays of sausage
on pastry in black pants/white shirt,
through room after room roped with origami,

thousands on thousands of paper cranes:
gilt, patterned, solid, batik-striped.
I was invisible. Except to one woman,
in a navy mini-dress who eyed me
up and down, entitled and speculative,

practicing for her own office lined with chair-rails,
her acre of desk. I was eyeing the birds:
first Christmas alone, first single-mother tree,
owning not one ornament. Drunk and glittering,
the students left—scorning wishes, the promise

of healing, good fortune. I took it all.
Outlasting that paycheck, dozens
of paper birds landed on these branches
from plastic bags gilled with gold, red, blue,
purple, flowered, checkered, silver, shining foil.

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