Andrea Potos


I've always loved being able to immerse myself in other lives with the persona poem. When I do, I feel a kind of lushness and freedom that sometimes escapes me otherwise. In particular, I gravitate to poems about women, real and imagined. I've explored the lives of the Bronte sisters in poetry, as well as Emily Dickinson, Demeter and Persephone, Emily Carr and here, of course, the exquisite Victorian-age photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.




In The Beginning, The Lens

Julia Margaret Cameron, pioneer Victorian photographer, 1867.

During the first years of her career, Cameron used a lens that yielded an image where one plane would be in sharp focus, and the rest would blur. . . Her exposures would last as long as seven minutes.


In the beginning, the lens
knew more than I--
how to converge
on one pure facet of truth:

the eyes
weighted with sleep and obsidian,
the unstoppable cascade of hair,
the rose at the throat
of Ophelia.

I photographed Beatrice, Mary Mother,
the Angel at the Tomb who
could have been Magdalen;
the inner sorrow,
the rapture made real.

During the long interval of exposure,
my model might sigh, look beyond
the studio door. Her movement turned
to a blurred dream unfolding,
a breath caught--
proof of the Spirit in flight.


Previously published in Yaya's Cloth (Iris Press, 2007).


435569-1589258-thumbnail.jpgAndrea Potos' full-length collection of poems, Yaya's Cloth, was published by Iris Press in 2007. Her poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies, including Women's Review of Books, The Sun, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Green Mountains Review, Greensboro Review, Calyx Journal, Southern Poetry Review, Poetry East, Kalliope, Diner, Atlanta Review, Cairn, Claiming the Spirit Within: A Sourcebook of Women's Poetry (Beacon Press), A Fierce Brightness (Calyx Books) Mothers & Daughters: A Poetry Celebration (Random House) and I Feel A Little Jumpy Around You (Simon & Schuster).