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Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!

Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!


The KaBooM Writers Notebook: Our Blog

With the taste of cherries

Today, on the anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War, I’m offering appreciations for the work of Athena Kildegaard, whose new book Ventriloquy is just out. Last week Writer’s Almanac featured her poem “Ripe Cherries” (from herĀ earlier collection Bodies of Light) that I found myself recalling.

Portrait by Laura Peterson. See https://athenakildegaard.com/about/

Portrait of poet Athena Kildegaard by Laura Peterson. See https://athenakildegaard.com/about/

 

In that poem, Kildegaard writes

I read that the men,
on their way to Gettysburg,
stopped along the road
to pick and eat ripe cherries.

That the fruit should not
go to waste.

She closes that poem with these lines:

That they should aim rifles
with the taste of cherries
against their teeth.

On this day, remembering the eagerness with which so many began battle, I hold up this poet’s remembrance. Another poem in that collection, titled “The Deaths We Are Called To,” enlarges the resonances of all those lives lost. You can see her reading that second poem and talking about the place the poem came from in this video (go to 8:30 in the clip). She mentions, specifically, looking at a book of photos from the war, by Matthew Brady, with her son and his friends. The boys are in seventh grade, and as they turn the page, they see a photo of dead soldiers. I don’t know if this is the photo she’s referring to, but the starkness of this one suggests it must be very similar.

Here’s to all the times we recall the taste of cherries againstĀ our teeth, and that sweetness causes us not to pull the trigger.

photo of the Civil War dead by Mathew Brady (ca. 1822 - 1896)

photo of the Civil War dead by Mathew Brady (ca. 1822 – 1896)

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