Castan Named Poet of the Year

Long Island poet honored

   The Walt Whitman Birthplace Association has named Fran Castan the 2013 Long Island poet of the year. The honor goes to a “nationally known and well-respected poet who champions poetry” through his or her “writing, teaching, and support of the Long Island community of poets,” the association said in a release.
    An induction ceremony, reading, and reception will take place on Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. at the association’s home at 246 Old Walt Whitman Road in Huntington Station.
    Ms. Castan, who lives in Springs and taught writing and literature at the School of Visual Arts in New York for 25 years, has had her work published in Poetry and Ms. magazines, among many others, and anthologized in books including “From Both Sides Now: The Poetry of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath.” She is the author of the collections “The Widow’s Quilt” and, most recently, “Venice: City That Paints Itself,” which combines her poems and paintings by her husband, Lewis Zacks.
    Below is a new, previously unpublished poem by Ms. Castan.


Without a calendar, I would know
June, in the deep pile of the carpet,
on my pillow, the mirror,
the brush I moisten
for mouth and teeth.

Eyes, nostrils, the crescent
between each nail and finger —
entered — as if all of me were an ovary.
Not even my tongue in its salivary bath
can dissolve these grains.

If I were to run naked
through June’s first week,
I would become mother
of pine. I could not escape
June’s yellow love

filling every crevice.
If it could, June would billow
into July and August, too,
with its insistent sex.
And you, love?

Remember how you chased me
up the stairs to our bedroom?
What about you? What about now?
Come, be a songbird
in my fragrant arms.