McCorkle’s New Book Part of “Polyphonic” Trio – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

McCorkle’s New Book Part of “Polyphonic” Trio

James McCorkleA new book from Etruscan Press puts the work of three poets, including Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies James McCorkle ’76, in conversation with one another.

In Triptych, which will be published May 5, McCorkle’s In Time appears alongside The Three-Legged World by Peter Grandbois and Orpheus & Echo by Robert Miltner. Each book, the publisher notes, “exerted upon our editors a gravitational pull, causing the shadow of one to fall across the reading of another. Sufficient on their own, these books achieve new altitudes when aligned.”

As a whole, Triptych engages with the inter-textual tradition of literature and of poetry in particular, which, “rippling from unmeasured sound into rampant forms, is especially polyphonicIn Miltner’s ogham-deep caesuras, in McCorkle’s speech-song, and in Grandbois’s cadences which whisper like ghostly passersby, ‘sound is emanation,’ and emanation asks, ‘what would this line be without the words?’”

In his poem “The Visible World,” McCorkle writes:

Here, already a memory: what a word would have

been, or you, suddenly here, too —


in flight to here, but not arrived, yet

a green premonition

or, again to start: a joy to see


a familiar, a figure before flowers, gold-green

feathers, ruby throat, first I’ve seen here —


small joy, like a memory arcing into sight

then back into the heights of long-needle


pines, the shrill of cicadas tighten

the air, royal Poinciana flare


here in August, a wash of red. Opulent

vessels, carriers of souls, heading across the gulf —


we move in this world with longing.


Learn more about Triptych.

McCorkle is the author of Evidences (selected by Jorie Graham for the 2003 APR-Honickman First Book Award) and The Subtle Bodies (Etruscan Press 2014). His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Conjunctions, Dispatches from the Poetry Wars, Kenyon Review, Manoa, New England Review, and Poetry. A 1976 graduate of Hobart College, he earned an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and is a recipient of fellowships from Ingram Merrill Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has taught at Hobart and William Smith since 2001.