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Owens, Elisabeth, R. (ed.) / Encore: more of parallel press poets
(2006)

Walsh, Timothy, 1958-
Blue lace colander,   pp. 65-67


Page 67

 
Poet's Statement 
The lost line. The dream poem that vanishes upon waking. The perfect word
or 
phrase that escapes before you have a chance to get it down on paper. None
of 
these things were on my mind as I sat in the coffee shop tinkering with some
notes and jottings about the old colander I'd recently placed on my writing
desk 
at home. For some reason, I'd become fascinated with the old colander as
an 
object-with the idea of colanders, their inherent beauty and their hint of
the 
esoteric-with the way a colander seems to leak its emptiness into the surround-
ing air. My few notes were clunky and unshaped. I sipped my coffee and stared
out the window. Just as the ghost of a good line began to take shape amid
the 
swirl of thoughts, the young woman at the table across from me leaned forward,
affording a glimpse of her attractive blue lace underwear... 
     There are thousands of these moments, chance convergences and serendipi-
ties, but most raw happenings aren't likely to show you the hidden doorway
you're 
searching for. This one did. The underwear and the colander fused in my mind
and in the poem. 
     A couple of months after I sent the poem off, I heard it had won second
place in the North American Review James Hearst contest, chosen by Billy
Collins. 
Needless to say, I was very happy. A few weeks later, I was in the coffee
shop 
when the woman walked in-the blue lace woman! My first impulse was to intro-
duce myself and thank her... but as I mentally rehearsed my explanations,
it 
seemed less and less a good idea. 
67 


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