Today's poem is "The Ventriloquist's Heart"
from Self Portrait as a Clock

Finishing Line Press

Lisa Allen Ortiz's poems have appeared in Zyzzyva, The Literary Review, Crab Creek Review and other journals, and she is the recipient of two Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg prizes. An earlier chapbook of poems, Turns Out, is available from Main Street Rag.

Other poems by Lisa Allen Ortiz in Verse Daily:
October 31, 2009:   "The Tortoise Survives the Fire" "He's at my friend's house now...."

Books by Lisa Allen Ortiz:

Other poems on the web by Lisa Allen Ortiz:
"Why We're Going to Church"

About Self Portrait as a Clock:

"The speaker in Lisa Allen Ortiz's Self Portrait as a Clock transforms strength into vulnerability and vulnerability into strength. Hovering over everything is a sense of the bomb and the balm of time and memory. "I have a clanging / sort of beauty," the speaker says, "Marry me / and I'll ring out. Bury me and I'll tick all night under the house." Set in the California landscape and haunted by a ventriloquist who "throws voices through the hall of his throat," the poems circulate in the domestic spheres of love, doubt, and grace where intimacy, like danger, is everywhere and nowhere and then suddenly everywhere again: "In comes the man with the white suit, the Geiger counter: He breathes / the way the heart loves. He reads me head to toe." Don't let the gorgeous music, with its echoes of Plath and. Dickinson, soothe you; these are elegant, unnerving snapshots-both praise and lament-of what A. R. Ammons calls poetry's one real subject: "impermanence, / which it presents / with as much permanence as./ possible."
—Catherine Barnett

"The poems in Lisa Ortiz's Self Portrait as a Clock display a lightness of touch, like the delicate gestures of a ballerina, that belies the grind and torque of muscle and bone, the pant and groan of feeling and effort that undergird the most beautiful things. these are poems of insight and refreshing risk-taking candor."
—Kwame Dawes

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