NEA Literature Fellowships

Sarah Vap

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(2013 - Poetry)

from Winter: Aphorisms

Someone cries every few minutes in our family
for the past four and a half years. My older son is crying because he has to go upstairs
to get dressed. My younger son is crying because he can't go upstairs.

King Lear, I tell them,

said Never never never never never. King Lear, I tell them, like all of you

said No no no. King Lear, they say back,      their fingers curled

by their noses like sneaky rats, their noses curled
and both of the little boys

walking like creeps on their tiptoes, as if we are each

(I see them signal) God's loosening spies—

(from Winter: Aphorisms, first appeared in Nashville Review)

Sarah Vap is the author of four collections of poetry. The most recent, Arco Iris (Saturnalia Books) was named a Library Journal Book Best Book of 2012. Her first collection, Dummy Fire, received the Saturnalia Poetry Prize. Her second collection, American Spikenard, received the Iowa Poetry Prize. Her book, End of a Sentimental Journey: A Mystery Poem, is forthcoming in 2013 from Noemi Press as part of their Infidel Poetics Series. She lives in Santa Monica, and is pursuing her PhD at University of Southern California.

Photo by Todd Fredson

Author's Statement

I am extremely grateful for the gift of time, financial support, and confidence that this award offers me… and without over-determining my hopes too much, I imagine I will spend my efforts on several writing projects I have already been working on--some of them for years. I imagine reading an extra several dozen books. I imagine more hikes, art projects with my kids, and surely some travel--all of these things that also fuel my writing, and set me right. I like the idea of everyone getting a few of these kinds of years.