Michael Thomas Taren

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USA | 2012

Michael Thomas Taren is an American poet and visual artist living in France. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Poetikon, SUPERMACHINE and I.D.I.O.T. His book of poetry WHERE IS MICHAEL was a 2010 finalist for the Fence Poetry Series. He also translates the poetry of Tomaž Šalamun and his translation have been published in 7 Poets, 4 Days, 1 Book (Trinity University Press, 2009), Slovene Sampler (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2008) and are accepted or published by Chicago Review, A Public Space, Poetry Review (UK), Fulcrum, Colorado Review, The Ninth Letter, Jubilat, Poetry London, Circumference and elsewhere.

Report 2012

For a long time My mind assembled in a perfect order. My rhythms Easily and naturally became the rhythms of The household. The household where I was kept And where I slept. To feel oneself a master in the household Of Baronessa Beatrice Monti della Corte Von Rezzori Is the capital and sufferance of grace. To possess in the extension of (true) nobility, nobility. This may be all that one needs to recover One’s significance and respond to the world again. My encounter in Santa Maddalena was intimate And utterly symbolic hyper-maturation, a re-enabling. There was a kindness of manners, a wholeness, That seemed so proper as to strike one as fittingly eternal, and utterly “real.” In an atmosphere that made rarified all anxiety And difficulty, the principal matters, so latent And ancient, rose to a kind of limpid surface, a place of affirmation And synthesis, and stayed From day to day, generously. All quiet was joy and all speech was joy. Food tasted good. Everything felt good and right. In such a space of care and embrace One is grateful and everything good is noticed. Even if it’s not true always For these days, one might say and believe, that Life is to be enjoyed. Here one Feels brilliant and good and warm Even as a non-Italian speaking spectator of Italian conversation. The air is pure health. Breathing it makes one Healthy and it contains some much else Besides oxygen. Though neither remote, nor Narcotically lulling, in Donnini, at Beatrice’s house, one’s capacity For diversions narrows to a proper and Manageable and fulfilling breadth. How good that the need for recovery, as an idea, articulated Itself at the moment when it was already underway, in rhapsody. Erroneously or not, I felt I could generate ideas That might survive the tumult of many collapses and many futures. The kind of focus, the gestation given here is not inevitable But is totally necessary. And that is the greatness of Santa Maddalena.