Poem of the Week: “Jubilee,” by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

A note from the RCAH Center for Poetry’s interim director, Cindy Hunter Morgan: “I love where Calvorcoressi finds music in this world, and I love how (and where) she sees the possibilities for music: in snare drums, yes, but also in hubcaps, trash can lids, and car springs. What are the instruments of this world? Surely there are more available to us than we sometimes realize. This poem is tightly constructed, and in some ways it ghosts the sonnet form. Sonnets are famous for their arguments, of course, but what does Calvocoressi argue for here? Joy.”

NOTE: Gabrielle Calvocoressi will kick off the RCAH Center for Poetry’s Spring Reading Series Wednesday, April 3 with a 3:30 talk in the LookOut! Gallery and a 7 p.m. reading in the RCAH Theater.



by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Come down to the water. Bring your snare drum,

your hubcaps, the trash can lid. Bring every

joyful noise you’ve held at bay so long.

The fish have risen to the surface this early

morning: flounder, shrimp, and every blue crab

this side of Mobile. Bottom feeders? Please.

They shine like your Grandpa Les’ Cadillac,

the one you rode in, slow so all the girls

could see. They called to you like katydids.

And the springs in that car sounded like tubas

as you moved up and down. Make a soulful sound

unto the leather and the wheel, praise the man

who had the good sense to build a front seat

like a bed, who knew you’d never buy a car

that big if you only meant to drive it.


“Jubilee” by Gabrielle Calvocoressi, from “Apocalyptic Swing,” © Persea Books, 2009.

Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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