National Poetry Month Poetry Playlist: Virginia Smith Rice’s Picks


To celebrate National Poetry Month, our Sundress editors are sharing some of their favorite poems, most influential poems, and poems that they are really digging right now. Put them all together, and you have the Sundress Poetry Playlist!

Today’s picks come from one of our Sundress authors, Virginia Smith Rice!

Here are two Tranströmer poems. He has been an incredible influence on my work, and these are two (of the many) that continue to resonate with me throughout the years.

Tomas Tranströmerfrom Friends, You Drank Some Darkness,  tr. Robert Bly


2am: moonlight. The train has stopped
out in a field. Far off sparks of light from a town,
flickering coldly on the horizon.

As when a man goes so deep into his dream
he will never remember that he was there
when he returns again to his room.

Or when a person goes so deep into a sickness
that his days all become some flickering sparks, a
feeble and cold on the horizon.

The train is entirely motionless.
2 o’clock: strong moonlight, few stars.



I have been walking a while
on the frozen Swedish fields
and I have seen no one.

In other parts of the world
people are born, live, and die
in a constant human crush.
To be visible all the time – to live
in a swarm of eyes –
surely that leaves its mark on the face.
Features overlaid with clay.

The low voices rise and fall
as they divide up
heaven, shadows, grains of sand.

I have to be by myself
ten minutes every morning,
ten minutes every night,
– and nothing to be done!

We all line up to ask each other for help.



Virginia Smith Rice will be reading from her debut collection tomorrow at 7PM at Powell’s Bookstore in Chicago!





Virginia Smith Rice earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University, where her poetry manuscript, “One Voice May Survive the Other,” received the Distinguished Thesis Award. Her work appears, or is forthcoming, in 2River View, Denver Quarterly, Rattle, Southern Poetry Review, Stirring, Stone Highway Review, Superstition Review, and Weave, among others. She was the Assistant Poetry Editor at TriQuarterly, and currently works as an art teacher in Woodstock, IL. Her first full-length collection, When I Wake It Will Be Forever, was published by Sundress in 2014.


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