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A Texas small press sampler The verse being published by small presses in Texas represents both a preoccupation with formal aspects of the poet’s art and a desire to discover in the region subjects equivalent in significance to any of those treated by writers of national and international standing. The eight poems selected cannot possibly suggest the range of inventiveness and intellection which Texas poetry has achieved during the past ten years and which small presses have supported out of a belief in a homegrown literary revival. As demonstration of the Texas poet’s ability to hat dle rhymed as well as open and surrealist forms, the sampler includes Fred Asnes’ movinr sonnet, William Barney’s subtly rhymed “episode,” Naomi Shihab’s unrhymed but care Fully crafted caf lunch, Bob Bonazzi’s humorous account of serious history, Leon Stoke >bury’s colloquial treatise on disillusion, Joanie Whitebird’s loose yet pointed attempt a: self-deception, Paul Foreman’s measured words of wisdom, and Charles Behlen’s gortrait of rabbit bones and loneliness. A combination of both lament and delight, this sampler offers a glimpse of the intensity and joy of contemporary Texas poetry. Having found their language and land, Texas poets, through the pages of small press publications, seek out readers to share their discoveries and to help them celebrate the coming of age of the Texas poem. 0.0. ELEGY Water pounding chill against each chest froze our skinny bones, our summer blood until father, tired, stopped for good and let us lie down in the sun to rest. Advance.. .retreat. I found this playing strange, a hard probing of our sapling strength, measuring our firmness by the length we stayed, yet aimed at something out of range. When mother hosed she turned to mist. Over the lawn a rainbow hovered; a bright communion soaked our heads. The doctors have removed another cyst but we have no fears; she tucks the covers. One by one the animals will leave our beds. Fred Asnes \(reprinted from HOW I BECAME A POET i believed destiny had me expelled from public school in second grade & placed me in saint peter’s i believed dust in holy water bowls was fallout from angel’s wings i believed the pennies !n connie contorno’s loafers were holy medals or at least unspendable i believed the red oval mark on her left calf was made by the Pope to designate sainthood i believed she crossed her legs like ‘a saint i believed her underarms would always be smooth i believed my scapula was a descendant of the hairshirt i believed hester prynne would be trapped forever in that cruelly abridged alphabet beginning & ending with A i believed i was going straight to hell Robert Bonazzi \(reprinted from Travois, A FATHER’S WORD TO HIS SON When you grow old, neither more nor less wise, and have read all the books, and hold in your head all the universities have in store, And have traveled to far towns in foreign lands, and have spoke your way through ladies’ gowns, remember, that here you once woke To a panther’s waul on Woodhouse Bluff, ate mussels you dug from the sand, grabbled catfish with your bare hand, and thought this world was world enough. Paul Foreman \(reprinted from Texas Liveoak, EPISODE WITH TOMATO He leaned down and plucked it in low leaves, one fat tomato, red, almost aground. And something moved fluttered and came crying piteously out from under with soft sound, wringing her wings a female quail startled and so distraught she hardly knew whether anything could be hoped at all. He guessed she had a reason to lament, and pulled the bush back, saw them plain: a clutch of eggs and two chicks newly-out. Blundering, mindless catastrophe, he’d come in the moment of her triumph. No wonder she moaned so delicately. He called to her not to be afraid and went off to the far end of the patch. Did she go back? He never saw for sure, but he hoped. Had he done her little hatch a service, lifting that swelling sun before it burst and overwhelmed her brood? He would puzzle. Worlds touch only an instant, and even to glimpse is to intrude. William Barney \(reprinted from The Killdeer Crying: Selected Poems of William Barney,