Poetry: Pavilion by Calvin Olsen

Calvin Olsen’s “Pavilion” puts its fingers on the fragile things: the light, the grapes, the seeds, the lover. He weaves here the idyllic rural as gently and quietly as any introverted dead before him.



Tucked away under the grapes
I watched you weave your hand
up through the tangle. Light fell
in patches like it always falls
through clearings, turning the plants
fluorescent like it had whipped
through the universe at the speed of itself
just so I would notice the grass that day.
I am not moved by the introverted
dead, let alone the square spaces
they called home, but I can’t
put a finger on my fascination
with the fragile things.
I have lived the life you slip toward—
you will spit seeds onto stiff soil,
your feet on the ground, your hand in the vines.

Calvin Olsen

Calvin Olsen holds an MFA from Boston University, where he received a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship to locate and translate the work of the late Mozambican poet, Alberto de Lacerda. He also translates the work of Portuguese poet, João Luís Barreto Guimarães, whose two most recent collections won the Antonio Ramos Award for Poetry and the Livraria Bertrand Book of the Year award. Calvin’s poetry and translations have most recently appeared in AGNI, Asymptote, Tampa Review, Notre Dame Review, The London Magazine, and The Chattahoochee Review, among others. An Idaho native, Calvin now lives in Chapel Hill, NC, and serves as poetry editor of The Carolina Quarterly. He is seven years into his seventeen-year pet project, a daily blog called Ten Thousand Haiku—it and his other work can be found at calvin-olsen.com.

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