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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Special Australian Edition August 2023
An Initiation, poems by Willo Drummond.
To shape is to discover
To find is to choose
A red leaf on the footpath
An apple carefully peeled
A poem of a certain temper
(the sweetness of such flesh)
Like a wish—or a promise—
Received in totality
On a certain silent evening
Over needlework, in Capri.
This poem is a cento in dialogue with Denise Levertov’s lifelong reading of
Selected Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke 1902-1926 (trans. Hull, 1946). It makes
use of, and alludes to, material from several passages catalogued by Levertov
as ‘Initiation into the mysteries of poetry’, well as Levertov’s poem “The Rights”,
Here and Now (1957), and material from Martin Buber.
© Willo Drummond
Dr. Willo Drummond is a poet, researcher, sessional lecturer, and supervisor in creative writing who lives and writes on Dharug and Gundungurra land. Her creative and critical work are engaged with themes of literary influence and creative cognition. Willo’s poetry can be found in Cordite Poetry Review, Australian Poetry Journal, The Canberra Times, Griffith Review, Island, and elsewhere. Willo was the recipient of a 2020 Career Development Grant for poetry from the Australia Council for the Arts, shortlisted for the 2022 Val Vallis Award, and runner-up in the 2021 Tom Collins Poetry Prize. Her debut collection Moon Wrasse was published by Puncher & Wattmann in March 2023. The collection includes a sequence of poems in dialogue with Levertov’s reading of Rilke’s letters. https://willodrummond.com/