Annie Finch is the author or editor of fifteen books of poetry, translation, and criticism. Her books of poetry include Eve,Calendars, The Encyclopedia of Scotland, and Among the Goddesses: An Epic Libretto in Seven Dreams. Her other works include several influential books of poetics, most recently The Body of Poetry and A Poet's Ear, and numerous music, art, theater, and opera collaborations. Finch's book of poetry Calendars was shortlisted for the Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award and in 2009 she was awarded the Robert Fitzgerald Award. She currently directs the Stonecoast MFA program in creative writing at the University of Southern Maine.
A Dance for the Inland Sea
Water that moves, in a bodylike stream,
through its cool channels fills the warm prairie's dream.
Waking to tend it, the grass-moving sky
pours with grasses. Big Bluestem's drinking roots lie
nine feet down the waving, remembering sod
they have swum through, to feed on, to build. When it swings
like a wing in small flight, when it sways,
turkey feet murmur, red three-toed feet sing.
Little Bluestem, as copper as autumn or clay,
floating seeds past the prairie's dense, watery hand
till they shimmer to columns, wet smoke on the land;
Indian Grass, lapping up the spattering sun;
prairies step slower than palaces, down
under the teeming roof of the ground,
quiet as animals. Then, when they rise,
prairies, like palaces, loom, and surprise.