Barbara Blatner

The Pope in Space


red is ontological density
red begins profaning colors
red stays a parishioner of Chinese lakes
red siphons the mouth of my lover
red comes from a combination of red and red
out of red bleeds black, out of black bleeds yellow
red is the psychiatrist of night
red debuts as a petticoat
red vital to the adornment of primitive forces
red appears first on the tray of the gods
red is passionate dying
red turns to ruby in a gism of light
red puppeteers the fall sun
red shines in Morocco from a dead trout's eye
red is the math of torrential rain
red breaks into the rules
red blood initiates snow
red hawks memories of 1945 on the corner
red turns the key in the white door
red bobs across the street, a little wool hat
red rehearses many times before forgetting
red breaks into the rules
red, carnivorous vision, licks the sky


"Strong in delivery, rich in message..."
--Steven C. Levi, Small Press Review, August 1987.

"Key nouns ... show her breaking up order and discovering elemental motion."
--Erik Muller, Publishing NW, Sept/​Oct 1987.

On list of "Z's" 100 best poetry publications for 1986.

Selected Works

Years of Sky tells of the doomed but enduring love between David, black, and Stace, white, whose relationship is bound to both Kennedy assassinations and thirty years of American politics.
Living with You traces in lyrical, abstract verse, reminiscent of George Oppen and other poets in that tradition, the first years of the poet's married life. Barbara Blatner's work possesses great power and great stillness. It is quiet but passionate, and the sense I have is that the processes she describes go on forever: "so we come back to / the old / the new // like the cats / in circle of[…]" She is very much a necessary poet in these loud and selfish times. —Mac Wellman New York Quarterly Books, 2012
A poetry chapbook
Poetry, memoir
A verse memoir of my mother's death
Verse play
A verse play for Epiphany

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