Patricia Fargnoli's first book of poems, Necessary Light, was selected by judge Mary Oliver as the winner of the May Swenson Poetry Prize and published by Utah State University Press. In addition, she has received the Robert Frost Literary Award. Her work has appeared widely in numerous literary journals, including Indiana Review, Laurel Review, Midwest Quarterly, Ploughshares, Poetry and Poetry Northwest. She teaches at the Keene Institute of Music and Related Arts.

Pecan Grove Press

Small Songs of Pain
Patricia Fargnoli


ISBN: 1-931247-17-x

"Marc Chagall’s visual rendering of the fables of LaFontaine, bypass plot and descriptive reportage to bring us into the heart, the timeless essence, of each canvas as seen through the eyes of a poet fully in tune with the complexities and griefs of today’s world. Like looking to one side of a star to see it more clearly, these poems portray the mysterious and the archetypal nature of life’s many ironies, of doomed beings caught unawares. Yet even as we share the poet’s anguished desire ‘to handle the trouble in the world’ as the painter has done:  to ‘mount the changed earth against a yellow background, / turn all the murders into sleeping peaceful bodies,’ we marvel at the ability of the imagination to transcend.  These songs are a constellation to steer by.”

Ingrid Wendt , author of Blow the Candle Out

The Two Mules
(Les deux mulets)

I have cut away the bandit with the knife in his teeth
and now I can pretend the red on the chest of the mule
is not blood but blossom. I have cut away the bags of grain
that were lying on the mule’s back, making of themselves a burden.
I have buried them behind the night. And now I can pretend
the second mule is only sleeping; I can pretend the night
pulses with dreaming, imagine extravagant music.
This is how I want to handle the trouble
in the world: fracture the sky into floating triangles, give it
not one moon but two, mount the changed earth
against a yellow background,
turn all the murders into sleeping peaceful bodies.

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Most recent revision
November 11, 2003

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