Gail Wronsky author photo, Ty Cole.jpg


Gail Wronsky

Selected by Guest Editor Seth Michelson

Followed by Bio and Q&A

Historians of the Defeat

               after the election


There is a malady here.  It sparkles in a kind of haziness, has a homespun fragrance, arranges its facets in a pleasant enough manner.  But come the victory celebrations, how unconsoling for those of us in the opposition.  What a hurry-up to a pointless end.

The defeat was a death in disguise.  For others it was stolen life.

There is no bottom to this defeat, no ceiling.  At the end of all of our detours it is there, stewing in its domination, in the shiny spittle it left in the mouths of its cannons.

Our poets utter laments, remember the times they envisioned the silhouettes of elephants, or of children, the times that waterfalls offered epiphanies.  They wish to remain unknown, cut off from their resources, to wait for the coming warming.

Cruel people, the ones who made these invisible barricades.

Cruel beauties, lying in their beds alone, having brought to the table nothing but subterfuge and compromises.

The planet we are born on is sad.

I bind myself to a dying palm tree.  In this position at least I am ungovernable.  I am the fetched burnt grass in your disarticulated hand.

Gail Wronsky is the author, coauthor, or translator of thirteen books of poetry and prose, including Imperfect Pastorals, published by What Books Press in 2017.  She lives in Topanga, California.


I tried to imagine what Walt Whitman would think of Donald Trump, and came up with the image of “burnt grass” in a “disarticulated hand.” The ruined earth, the disenfranchised people . . .


With what fictional character would you most love to spend the day?

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.  I love the gender-bending quality of this character, and also his/her ability to live through centuries.

What is your favorite day of the week?

Tuesday.  I like the sound of it:  tooooz-day, and I was born on a Tuesday.

Which movie have you seen over and over again? What keeps you coming back?

Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet, because of its over-the-top baroque imagery, and of course, Shakespeare’s language. It’s a real feast for the eyes and ears and brain.