A! Magazine for the Arts

Linda Parsons

Linda Parsons

Poetry celebration to be held at Abingdon Library

March 26, 2024

The annual “Celebration of Regional Poetry” in the Sunday with Friends series is held Sunday, April 7, at 3 p.m. at the Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, Virginia. The two poets headlining the event are Linda Parsons and Jim Minnick.

Parsons celebrates her new book of poetry, “Valediction.” The collection travels inward and outward, exploring life’s oppositions: parental and relationship struggles and losses, home and away, the mystical and spiritual versus the physical, balancing grief and reemergence, hello and goodbye. The volume is a hybrid, featuring poems, diptychs, as well as micro-essays.

Parsons is an editor for Madville Press and is the copy editor of the website for Humanities Tennessee. She has published six volumes of poetry and has written five plays that have been produced by the Flying Anvil Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she lives.

Parsons is joined by other poets from the region including Jim Minick whose new book, “The Intimacy of Spoons” uses the spoon as a metaphor for many observations, from love and marriage to the spoon of a grave that holds our bodies.

Minick is the author or editor of eight books including “The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family” and the novel, “Fire Is Your Water.”

Poets appearing from the Appalachian Center for Poets and writers are David Winship, Daryl Ann Beeghley and Rees Shearer.

The series is sponsored by the Friends of the Washington County Public Library, a volunteer, non-profit organization whose purpose is to help strengthen the resources of the library and to make it a dynamic force in the community.

There will be refreshments as well as book sales and signings after the events. For more information, contact the event’s coordinator, Ben Jennings, at ben.h.jennings@gmail.com.

Light Around Trees in Morning

By Linda Parsons

So much light, I think it’s caught fire,

the paperbark maple self-immolating-

but it’s only the coppery scrolls’ silhouette

facing east. Someone once important

to me planted this tree, led friends to this

very spot as if it were the only blaze,

the garden’s only crown.

Importance ebbs in time, keeping its own

mystery, and we’re left on our knees,

in cinders, smoldering ash, as I was,

turning to what’s more important-

clover in the iris, stones overrun

with chocolate mint, the scrawl

of minor serpents to read and expel.

A woman alone makes good headway

in the weeds, my corona unscrolling

like fiery swords at the entrance of nothing

and everything Edenic. Sometimes I think

light comes only when we’re bowed

too low to notice our leaves and limbs

burnished by morning, our bodies

in spontaneous combustion.

Reprinted with permission

The Intimacy of Spoons

Jim Minick from The Intimacy of Spoons

Knives with serrated edges, their solid singularity and sureness of purpose,

forks too with fang teeth

and slots of air,

their habit of piercing—

neither will ever know

the intimacy of spoons.

How they hold each other—

knees cupped, thighs touching,

the long curve of spine

soft against belly and chest,

the nuzzled narrow neck,

this ladle of bodies.

Slowly your breathing softens, falls

into that space of sleep

where you twitch in dreams

and I hold on.

Reprinted with permission