Wilson’s guest this month is Poet Katherine Gekker. He discuss the poetry in her new book In Search of Warm Breathing Things. Gekker’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. In addition, two of her poems have been put to music. Her poem “Overnight Maples Turn into Pumpkins” set to music by Carson Cooman and his chamber music group appears on this broadcast.
Gekker’s poetry is readily accessible but at the same time rich in symbolism and iconic imagery. Almost hidden in her work are subtle images that float below the surface and tease out the instinctive roots of our consciousness.
The poem “Sweet Chocolate,” for example, is a simple story of a woman bringing a few Hershey’s Kisses to her mother who can no longer eat and is dying in the hospital. Written in the first person she tells us,
I place one morsel in your
mouth. After a long
time your thin neck
swallows. Your last meal.
This subtle image of the chocolate melting on the tongue of the dying is a symbol that reaches back to the primitive roots of our consciousness. There is nothing of intellect here; the poem generates an emotion in which we are made to feel the capricious nature of life’s heart as well as the simple beauty it offers in our care for one another. The ancient roots of our consciousness are brought forward to remind us of who we are.