The Works of Lara Candland

Lara Candland is a poet, librettist, performer and screenwriter. Her work has appeared in Fence, The Colorado Review, Barrow Street, Fine Madness, Unsaid, The Quarterly, and other journals. Candland was nominated for a 2014 Pushcart Prize. She was commissioned by the Genesis Foundation for New Opera to write Sunset for Pink Pastoral, which was premiered and workshopped at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, and later performed in Salt Lake City, Vancouver, and Seattle. She performs with Lalage, a duo featuring her live electronic voice manipulations, and was a founding member and librettist for Seattle Experimental Opera. The screenplay version of Sunset with Pink Pastoral was selected as a finalist for the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriter’s Lab.  In addition, Candland is an avid cook and food writer, and teaches poetry, creative writing, and food writing.  Her book Alburnum of the Green and Living Tree was published by BlazeVox in 2010.  

All Poems © Lara Candland

a shade tree

i suddenly recognized the caesura

as not silence: what it was::

a pause in the heat—a levitation, then:
a little frisson from satan himself
telling me: don’t stop.

don’t let me catch you.
did i believe in darkness?
i had seen it, or so i had thought.

did i believe in the devil whale?
it had floated in the corner
for many years

did i have a mote in my eye?
i did.

was i able to pluck it out?
i was not, no.

the figure resting in the shade
knew how odd it was
for me to write in the past tense, how risky                        how transgressive

the figure looked up
counted the leaves on the willow branches
lips moving.

how wrong to compose a narrative poem!
the shade knew.
he let me do it anyway.


he knew how loved the willow—

how true it was—
and how great my devotion
to each little serpent tongued leaf.


every time i lifted the curtain he was looking up
counting leaves
sitting in lotus
lips moving.


i swear to you
i don’t believe in evil.

the packet embarks from nantucket


everyday:  am i dead now?
what happened to the owners
of the tractor, meditating, rusting,
or the zen canoe
roped at the dock?
writing the daily list
of tasks:

1.     visit farm
2.     embark from a pebbly shore
3.     check on tractor
4.     love the velvet-tipped cattails & the pale quiche moon more
5.     don’t be indifferent

she can’t seem to cross
items  #1 thru 5 from the list
to find her place
in the water of the world,
to leave the armchair of intention
or the little dented tin tub
bobbing on the black pond
of sleep—landlubber, carpetbagger, devil whale:
relieved to roll up on the pebbles
or to grow feet at last
or to stop trying
to be grateful for breath & lotuses
a decade after
embarking inward
a decade after giving up
on all that.