The Sewanee Conglomerate
Named for the uppermost rock formation in Sewanee's corner of the Cumberland Plateau, the Sewanee Conglomerate is the magazine's blog. Check here for short pieces about books and current events written by SR staff and guest contributors.
A thin line exists for me between translation and poetry—not because the versions I make are my own poems; they are not. Rather, I feel my own poems are another piece of my translation practice; or, that all of it is of the same unnamed motion.
I’m moved to think of the expressiveness, inventiveness, and endurance of some works of art I love, and the way they generate imaginative possibilities in me. I’m not surprised my poetry is a space where I seek to explore and understand them.
As April came to an end, quince, apples, and pears ripened. On my walks I saw straw baskets of these fruits next to mailboxes. Signs invited passersby to help themselves. Under the glass roofs of bus stops, where no buses stopped during lockdown, gardeners left sheaths of lavender freely given.
Sometimes our ghosts are not the past, but rather the shadow selves we must carry—selves that exist only in that other place.
Time shape-shifts. Our senses sharpen. Little things—the taste of sourdough; the sight of snap peas pushing through the dirt; the texture of a handwritten note—become large.
Summers are usually memorialized by their novelty, by the way they rupture ordinary routines—school years, breaks in the weather. Others are marked by convergences: of social and political movements, by terror or violence or economic precarity—sometimes all of them at once. The Summer of Love. The Freedom Summer. The Summer of Sam. Part of me wants to ask: How will the Summer of 2020 be remembered? But another part wonders: When will this summer ever actually begin?
What I wanted to do in telling Dwight’s story is capture the loony, obsessive passions—here, a love for astronomy—we’re capable of at Dwight’s age, passions that push us out to explore the big world. At the same time, I wanted to show the process by which we come to understand that the world is more complicated and troubled than we imagined.
The Sewanee Review stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and condemns the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. Our hearts break that such injustices continue to be perpetrated, but our hearts swell with hope and optimism at the most recent protests’ display of unity and their promise of systemic change. This is a time of extraordinary opportunity in our country—and here at the university—to make lasting changes for the better.