Some Notes on “A Psalm” from issue 294.3/4 by Eugene Gloria

By_the_Waters_of_Babylon_(1882-1883)

Revisiting “A Psalm” now, I would say that my poem was interested in language’s corporeality. That the body we inhabit—even when we’re apart from those we love—should always be in the forefront when writing poems. It is the body that is displaced, the body that is captive in the Psalters words, the body that rages at its enemies while singing praises to God. What I love about the biblical psalms are the tremendous mix of emotions from disappointment and acknowledgment of defeat to belief in God’s deliverance—all contained within the framework of a psalm. Think of Psalm 137 with the opening lines made famous by Bob Marley. While working on my third collection of poems, I thought a great deal about the psalms and read the wonderful contemporary versions of them in Alicia Ostriker’s The Volcano Sequence. I love, for example, these lines in a sequence simply titled, “psalm”: “my old body lacks teeth, lacks a breast / still cherishes itself // I eat what I want I am.” Continue reading