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The New Criterion

America’s leading review of the arts and intellectual life
- Harry Mount, the London Telegraph


November 2002


by Valerie Wohlfeld

To be colored in metallic salt,
dipped in cobalt
blue, raku’s
flame-tamed hue’s
equatorial smoke and wintry water.

To reside in luster:
illicit god’s chamber-
quarantined gold.
To be the stone—small, in blindfold,
pressed to the vessel’s

burnished sides. To be the pestle’s
love against the mortar:
plot of glaze, guise of feldspar.
To be the shard-skin:
glass cast-out of manganese, iron, livid tin.

To be the callow body
vitrified in journey
near catastrophe:
something new arises out of desire
of water, earth and furtive-fettered fire.

Valerie Wohlfeld

Valerie Wohlfeld's Thinking the World Visible won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 21 November 2002, on page 42

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