“Uncovering What Is Brave: A Remembrance of Brigit Pegeen Kelly”

An Epistolary Essay Co-Authored by Joy Manesiotis (Poetry ’86)

Poetry alumn Joy Manesiotis was recently featured in Plume, with an essay co-authored by Maxine Scates on the subject of the life and work of their mutual friend, Brigit Pegeen Kelly. Read an excerpt and find a link to the full text below:

Uncovering What Is Brave: A Remembrance of Brigit Pegeen Kelly by Joy Manesiotis and Maxine Scates

Joy Manesiotis: “The Satyr’s Heart” is the poem I read this morning, as I thought about Brigit, as I felt the loss of her, as I thought about writing to you. I am not sure why this poem, today, of all her poems. Maybe because it opens with a maimed statue. The lines and their internal repetitions “My fanfare? Little fare/With which I buy my way, making things brave?” are so characteristic of Brigit’s poems. And then the immediate refutation, the monosyllabic hammer and clipped consonants of the disavowal: “No, that is not it.” And the last image: “Now I bend over and with my foot turn up a stone./And there they are: the armies of pale creatures who/Without cease or doubt sew the sweet sad earth” of unseen creatures, pale from working under a rock, literally, who work on behalf of the earth. The poem opens with the speaker resting her head where there would have been a heart, where both head and heart are absent, and ends with a tribute to those lowly creatures who labor for us “without cease or doubt,”—which makes us question the enterprise, even as the speaker places faith it in. Somehow that trajectory describes an arc that Brigit traced often in her poems.

Continue reading here:  Joy Manesiotis | Plume