Pick-a-Poem: Troy Jollimore

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Hello, blog readers, and welcome to the middle of the week! As always, Wednesday means it’s time for another Pick-a-Poem post. Each week, the blog features a new poem and a new poet for you to discover. Hopefully you’ll look into more of this poet’s work and maybe even find a new favorite. These poems come from Poetry Daily, which is a great website that features a new poem every day. This week’s featured poem is On the Origins of Things by Troy Jollimore.

According to his bio page, Troy Jollimore has written two poetry collections, At Lake Scugog and Tom Thomson in Purgatory. The latter won the National Book Critics Circle Award. His new collection of poetry is entitled Syllabus of Errors, which Poetry Daily describes as “more urgent, more vulnerable, and more sensitive” than his previous work. His poems have also appeared in publications such as the New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and The Believer. He teaches philosophy at California State University, Chico.

On the Origins of Things by Troy Jollimore

Everyone knows that the moon started out
as a renegade fragment of the sun, a solar
flare that fled that hellish furnace
and congealed into a flat frozen pond suspended
between the planets. But did you know
that anger began as music, played
too often and too loudly by drunken musicians
at weddings and garden parties? Or that turtles
evolved from knuckles, ice from tears, and darkness
from misunderstanding? As for the dominant
thesis regarding the origin of love, I
abstain from comment, nor will I allow
myself to address the idea that dance
began as a kiss, that happiness was
an accidental import from Spain, that the ancient
game of jump-the-fire gave rise
to politics. But I will confess
that I began as an astronomer—a liking
for bright flashes, vast distances, unreachable
things, a hand stretched always toward
the furthest limit—and that my longing
for you has never taken me far
from that original desire, to inscribe
a comet’s orbit around the walls
of our city, to gently stroke the surface of the stars.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem! For more posts like this, click here.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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