The winner of the 1996 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition is Talvikki Ansel for My Shining Archipelago."Ansel`s poetry is refreshingly original," says the distinguished poet and contest judge James Dickey. "She renders the heat, the closeness, the mystery, and the terrible fear of the undisclosed, the lurking, the waiting to happen. This is true imagination, true craft."Flemish Beauty
Yesterday, all winter,I had not thought of pears, considered:pear. The tear-shaped, papery core,precise seeds. This one channeledthrough with worm tunnels.Bruises, a rotten half-sometimes there's nothing leftto drop into the pot.That phraseI could have said: "you stillhave us…"The knifeslides easily beneath the skins,top to base, spiralingthem away.The insubstantial us.It could as well be the peartalking to the river, turning tothe grass ("you still have us").Besides, it's justmea pear in my hand (the slop bucket fullof peels)-and sometimes, yes, thatseems enough: a pear-this larger one,yellow-green, turning to red:"Duchess" maybe, "Devoe,"or what I want to call it: "FlemishBeauty."When I can't sleep,I'll hold my hand as if I helda pear, my fingers mimickingthe curve. The same curveas the newel postI've used for years, swingingmyself up to the landing, alwaysthrowing my weight back. And alwaysnails loosening, mid-bound.