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A Sunday With Grace Schulman

Tue, 04/18/2023 - 12:12
Grace Schulman comes to The Church in Sag Harbor this weekend.
Beowulf Sheehan

"Spend your Sunday immersed in the words of American poet Grace Schulman," says The Church in Sag Harbor, the arts center where she'll be appearing this week. "The Springs poet Grace Schulman," one might add, as her life there and her work inspired by the place will be the focus of her talk and reading, which starts at 2 p.m. 

The get-together offers a time for questions and a book signing. Admission is $10, free for members. R.S.V.P.s are required on The Church's website.

Prompting it is Ms. Schulman's latest collection, "Again, the Dawn: New and Selected Poems, 1976-2022," published by Turtle Point Press. That date range hints at her long-lasting, Frost Medal-winning significance in American letters, from her books to her many years as the poetry editor at The Nation, from her leading the poetry center at the 92nd Street Y to her continued presence at Baruch College, where she's distinguished professor of English. 

Below is a new poem from "Again, the Dawn."

"Scallop Shell"

See them at low tide,
scallop shells glittering on
a scallop-edged shore,

whittled by water
into curvy rows the shape
of waves that kiss the sand

only to erode it. Today
I walked that shoreline, humming,

Camino Santiago,
the road to St. James's tomb,
where pilgrims traveled,

scallop badges on their capes,
and chanted prayers
for a miracle to cure

disease. And so I,
stirred by their purpose,

hunted for scallop shells
shaped like pleated fans,
with mouths that open and close

to steer them from predators.
I scooped up a fan
and blew off sand grains, thinking,

for that one moment,
of how Saint James' body

rose from sea decked with scallops,
and of this empty beach
in another austere time.

Unholy pilgrim,
I implore the scallop shell,

silvery half-moon, save us.

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