Stone Sky Lifting

Lia Purpura

“Lia Purpura is a poet for whom the great human obligation is to struggle to see this world with clarity—as it’s never been seen before. Purpura is a ‘nature poet,’ but few poets do not fit into that category. This poet discovers ways of learning more about the nature of the inner world from observing the outer, and at the same time she reads the outer from the inner.” —David Citino

“A graceful and penetrating energy abounds in the poems collected in Stone Sky Lifting. Lia Purpura’s poems tread on that thin line between talk and song.” —Bruce Weigl

“Often, these poems make us feel as if we can hear those secret fables being whispered at just the other side of dream. With the delicate discretion of her imagination, Lia Purpura reminds us of our kinship to all things, and of the vital place of human compassion in the shifting kaleidoscope of worldly change.” —David St. John

Stone Sky Lifting is a study in states of extremity, portraying violence at one end of the spectrum and unbidden solace at the other. Focusing on transforming events, Purpura depicts the spiritual dislocation that can result from abiding scrutiny.

With a metaphysical sensibility, Purpura moves between our world’s abundance and its mysterious stillness in her subject matter. Over the course of the book, a shaken vision emerges—one of trespass, both worldly and spiritual, and of repair. The poems in this collection don’t seek resolve; rather, they make space for paradox to root. Silences become revelations in Purpura’s poems.

For a week it’s been spinning
the tale of a thing
about to believe
its new body.
Today the eyes are gone, 
and the center split
where form side-stepped 
its own riven length

That’s just likeness
hinged to the tree.
A souvenir.
A transparency.

To find it now
make a space in the ear
in the shape of what it’s become

A thirst. 
A flood.

Listen. Already
the ear
is the lip
of a generous cup.

Lia Purpura is the author of The Brighter the Veil, a collection of poems, and Increase, which won the 2000 AWP Award in Creative Nonfiction. She is also the translator of Poems of Grzegorz Musial.  She teaches at Loyola College in Baltimore.

Oct 2000
80 pp.  5 1/2 x 8 1/2

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The Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry

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