Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rane Arroyo: 1954 - 2010

My contact with Rane was limited to a handful of email correspondences. But it didn't take much to be struck by his generous nature and candid personality. I'm saddened by his death.

Sugar House Review
was brand new. We existed only as a web page and (I think) a listing on In fact, at that point, we weren't "relevant' enough to have our own Wikipedia entry. Believe me. I tried.

So I'm not sure how or where Rane heard of us, but he e-mailed and introduced himself (he had spent a lot of time in Utah) and asked if we would be interested in considering some of his work for our magazine. I admit, at that time I wasn't very familiar with Rane's work. But I knew of him. I knew the University of Arizona had done a couple of his books. And that was enough for our brand new magazine to be excited.

The more familiar I become with Rane and his poetry, the more lucky I feel that he found us and that we had the chance to include his poems in our debut issue. Rane's poetry exhibits a fearless generosity that never becomes tired. It is both musical and accessible, personal and universally relevant.

After Rane received his contributor copies he conveyed a deep satisfaction at being published in a Utah poetry magazine--a sort of peace-making with the Utah of his past. His words ring with me. I find that poetry, or probably any creative endeavor, can serve as a way to link us to our former selves, to look into the eyes of--even if we can't make peace with--our past.

Rane said it best in the conclusion to his poem, "Always" (linked here), What an education: / poetry always demands all my ghosts.

Thank you, Rane. Rest in Peace.

--Nathaniel Taggart


Flowers in Florence

Two of the daffodils are dressed

in glowing faces; three of them

grimace in gold masks: resurrection
poses. What's not to love, this

half-spent day? These blossoms are
alternative suns on a cloudy

noon: five sisters gossiping with
spring's army of gray. The astral

plane must be beautiful in order
to tempt some of us from this ache

we call yellow that is in and of this
world. These flowers possess the plain

grace of specificity: five
gold coins not long for my cold hands.

--Rane Arroyo
from The Portable Famine
BkMk Press, 2005

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