The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

August 15, 2010

New Poetry by Eliza Griswold and Ishmael Beah

We're breaking our typical silence outside of National Poetry Month, and with good reason. For the August issue of our new literary venture Work in Progress, Eliza Griswold (Wideawake Field, The Tenth Parallel) has generously allowed us to publish three new poems: "Sabaudia," "Metamorphosis," and "Libyan Proverbs." The first one is presented here:


The delicate Italian town
preserves its symbols—
its sheaves of wheat and axes
stamped onto manhole covers.
A balcony presses past a worker’s window
in the same crossed shape
of wheat bound by wheat.
Yet the white, weathered farmers
have fled utopia. This block is let
to gypsies and Africans.
The cash crop is kiwis.
All markets are black.
Without meaning to, I file
these facts to show you,
ambassador to a country
that no longer exists.

You can read the other two poems here.

In addition, publisher and editor Sarah Crichton chats with Ishmael Beah about his life since A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. He discusses how the book grew out of a poem about his experiences, "Signal on Lion Mountain." It's an understatement to say Beah has lived a unique and harrowing life, and yet his writing is full of joy and warmth. 

We encourage you to visit Work in Progress. And as always, let us know what you think.


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Van Bakker

Those are very beautiful poems. I have read all of them and enjoyed each moment of the reading.

Thank you very much for that.

Gillian Wallace

I especially liked 'Libyan Proverbs'. As you say, her journalist's eye informs her work beautifully.

The Pig Pen Poetry Forum

a great feeling of how a place could have a soul. the town's trademarks now being used by a reincarnation of workers.

some good images. thanks

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