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Lorna Knowles Blake - Winner, Able Muse Book Award, 2017

Lorna Knowles Blake
Lorna Knowles Blake


2017 Able Muse Book Award
for her poetry manuscript
The Wrack Line

Selected by final judge, Charles Martin

Coming soon from Able Muse Press - Spring/Summer 2018

(the contest finalists and honorable mentions are listed here)



Lorna Knowles Blake was born in Havana, Cuba and spent her childhood in Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela and Puerto Rico before coming to the United States. Her collection of poems, Permanent Address, won the Richard Snyder Memorial Award from Ashland University Press. Work from a new collection has appeared or is forthcoming in the Cortland Review, Literary Imagination, Tampa Review and the Hudson Review. She serves on the editorial board at the journal Barrow Street and on the advisory committee for WCAI’s Poetry Sundays radio program. She teaches creative writing in Brewster, on Cape Cod and in New Orleans. She has been awarded fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Virginia Center for the Arts and other organizations.


Sample poems from Lorna Knowles Blakes's The Wrack Line



Thievery is exciting.
Audacity, too, we envy,
and Daring, and Wagers.
Furthermore (with its
implied “tsk, tsk”), Risk
of any kind: snooping,
filching coins, sneaking
booze and cigarettes,
illicit affairs, rubber
checks, stacked decks,
bald-faced lies, fingers
crossed behind our back,
the thing. Palm it. Look
over your shoulder.

    (previously published in the Cortland Review)


Duke Ellington

once said, “The memory of things gone is important

             In a Sentimental Mood, Mood Indigo,

to a jazz musician.” Jazz is the memory of things—

             Perdido, Flamingo. Lotus Blossom, Solitude,

things gone. The memory of the musician is important;

             Prelude to a Kiss, Sophisticated Lady, Satin Doll,

the jazz musician is gone and so many things are gone.

             I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good, All Too Soon,

Jazz is important to the memory of things gone.

             Moon Mist, Day Dream, Drawing Room Blues,

What is gone? The music of things, the memories…

             Blue Serge, Lover Man, Caravan, Chelsea Bridge,

The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician.

             Jump for Joy, Come Sunday, Take the “A” Train.

    (previously published in the Brilliant Corners)



    The fish taken out of the sea
    Is not without a consolation:
    Its dying is of brief duration
    And ultimately brings relief.
        —Saint John of the Cross

Far from myself, in pain and yet
not feeling, I’m sunk into a trance.
All around me, the cosmic dance
goes on, its beautiful motet,
its counterpoint and pirouette. . . .
Is this how I am loved? So well
that I am prisoner in a hell
devised of tears and sleep? Beset
by nothing I can name, I envy
the fish taken out of the sea—

a shock like that has sweet appeal.
The force of elemental change
might cause the brain to rearrange
and set the body free to feel
the hook, the dock, the sun, the real
experience of its own end,
and the soul (for let us pretend
there is a soul, and it can heal),
in that moment of sensation,
is not without a consolation,

flown from its chamber of disease.
My soul rejects both love and food;
all I can do is tend my mood
and stare into its vortices,
ignoring those insistent pleas—
We need milk Love, you have to call
the plumber. Mom?There is a wall
to scale, and I am on my knees.
Is a fish more than a person?
Its dying is of brief duration,

so different from yours: how long
your dying took, Mother, compared
with what we’d hoped; how unprepared
we were, and you, afraid and strong
at once, in that slow evensong
of loud machines and spongy shoes.
My sorrow gone, I’d stand to lose
you twice. The counselors are wrong:
it’s more a state than stages, grief,
and living there brings me relief.

    (previously published in the Hudson Review)



Tiny enamel spiral,
designed with exquisite art,
recently abandoned—
a snail’s shell in the grass
catches the light at daybreak.
Overturned, exposed, vacant,
its coiled intimacy
has the ransacked air
of a refugee’s home
the day after the raid.
Naked, vulnerable
to a thousand inclemencies,
the exile seeks shelter,
if only by building itself
another small stone prison.

    (previously published in NYCBig City Lit)





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