Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sonnet: Hard Trills
Halvard Johnson

Rolling r's in Spanish is not as easy as rolling
drunken sailors on shore-leave in Lisboa, nor
as hard as rolling cigarettes with one hand tied
behind one's back. Gathering maple sap for

sugar may be easiest of all if you watch your
footing in the snow, and your Portuguese
might come in handy if you're ever in Macao.

Even humble pebbles need to watch where
they're going, even when it's only to Roslyn's
house over by the forest by the ocean and

its shore. Baboons come in around line eleven,
but don't hang around for long. Nixon invaded
Cambodia and Kent State University but never
took on Oxford. Let's all thank him for that.


Halvard Johnson was born in Newburgh, New York, and grew up in New York City and the Hudson Valley. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council, and Baltimore City Arts. He has published  many collections of poetry--Transparencies and Projections, The Dance of the Red Swan, Eclipse, and Winter Journey--all from New Rivers Press and, now out of print, archived at the Contemporary American Poetry Archives http://capa.conncoll.edu.
Recent collections include Rapsodie espagnole, G(e)nome, The Sonnet Project, Theory of Harmony--all from http://xpressed.wippiespace.com--and The English Lesson, from Unicorn Press. Guide to the Tokyo Subway was published in 2004 by Hamilton Stone Editions, which published another collection (Organ Harvest with Entrance of Clones) in 2007.
He has lived and worked in Chicago, Illinois; El Paso, Texas; Cayey, Puerto Rico; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland, and New York City. For many years he taught overseas in the European and Far East divisions of the University of Maryland, mostly in Germany and Japan. He currently lives in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.


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