Poet & Prose Writer Eleanor Stanford (Cape Verde Islands)



Eleanor Stanford (Cape Verde Islands 2014-19) will be one of the five published writers to lead panel discussions at the September RPCV Writing Workshop in Maryland. Read her short poem below.— John Coyne



 Sombre Hummingbird
 Capão Valley, Brazil

The Batista waterfall is half-
erased, disappears
before it hits the ground. Dona Aúrea
loves to talk about how
the world is ending. At my ear,
this drab throb, the canyon swallowing
the sun. I hold a glass of cachaça
up to the sinking light: a cloudy
eye. Once when we were young
and unyoked we watched oxen
mill the sugar cane to terrifying
proof. Dona Aúrea, it’s true, the world
is ending: in the cataract’s
obliterating mist. In the kiss
of the hummingbird’s
fringed tongue.


Eleanor Stanford is the author of three books of poetry, The Imaginal Marriage, Bartram’s Garden, and The Book of Sleep, all from Carnegie Mellon University Press. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, the Kenyon Review, and many others. She won a National Endowment for the Arts grant for 2019, and was a 2014/2016 Fulbright fellow to Brazil, where she researched and wrote about traditional midwifery.

Eleanor is also the author of História, História: Two years in the Cape Verde Islands where she was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1998-2000. Today she lives in the Philadelphia area.

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