Literature 6-13-2006

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Brandon Lussier

Brandon Lussier is the eleventh poet chosen in this once-a-week yearlong survey of Minnesota’s poets and their work. The series is sponsored by Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

Brandon Lussier

A Good Craftsman, Interrupted

Once spring is obviously going to arrive
the artisan continues to work in exactly

the same manner. A new technique
might come as easily in June as December

though it might require a new tool
that can only be made after the thaw

when the field is soft enough to put a hand in
and pull out cool clay, or the snow has melted

and cleared the way to the only glade
where the ironwood tree grows. Flawless

handles and levers can be made from its trunk.
In this way, God lays one hand on the busy mind’s

tense shoulder and points with the other
toward the black willow and sugar pine.

A good craftsman, interrupted, is glad for a reason
to go outside and see the lobed feet

of the coot leave strange prints in the wet sand by the lake.
How funny they look when they fly, so clumsy at takeoff.

Brandon Lussier was a 2003 Fulbright Fellowship recipient. His poems and translations have been published or are forthcoming in Circumference: Poetry in Translation, Sirena: Poesia, Arte y Critica, Water-Stone, White Pelican Review, and A Sharp Cut: Contemporary Estonian Poetry, as well as other journals and anthologies in the United States, England, and Estonia. In March, 2006, Lussier spoke about the translation of Estonian poetry at Princeton University. He recently received an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to work on the series of poems which includes “A Good Craftsman, Interrupted.” He lives in Minneapolis where he founded the Minnesota Poetry Library in 2001.