Lia Purpura

Rare Moment
November 14, 2011 Purpura Lia

Rare Moment


A clear choice

is so sweet. Not

reluctant complicity but

real resistance

to spring.


or none. Grief,

not gradients.

Someone essential.

Someone not.

A good, dark



weighing everything

at the end of each day.

Look, a cat killed a cardinal

on an emerald lawn.

For so many reasons

it shouldn’t have been


But that’s also the kind of book

I like best.


Lia Purpura is the author of ten collections, including essays, poems, translations and artists’ books. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for On Looking (essays), her awards include Guggenheim, NEA, and Fulbright Fellowships, as well as five Pushcart Prizes, the AWP Award and others.  Her work appears in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Orion, The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, Agni, Emergence, and elsewhere. Purpura has served as Writer in Residence at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Loyola University; other teaching venues include the Rainier Writing Workshop, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction MFA program, as well as workshops at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, and the Glenwood Life Recovery Center. Her newest collections are It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful (poems) and All the Fierce Tethers (essays).