a river flowed through never
[from the artist Ligia Bouton]
“a river flowed through never” from MISSING DEPARTMENT: by Ligia Bouton and Matt Donovan.
Published by Visual Studies Workshop in Fall 2023.
Copyright © 2023 by Matt Donovan.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Matt Donovan is the author, most recently, of The Dug-Up Gun Museum (BOA 2022), which explores guns and gun violence in America, and Missing Department (Visual Studies Workshop, Fall 2023), a collection of poetry and art made in collaboration with the artist Ligia Bouton. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award, a Rome Prize in Literature, a Pushcart Prize, the Levis Reading Prize, and an NEA Fellowship in Literature. Donovan serves as Director of the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center at Smith College.
From 1919-1949 the pulp magazine Western Story published ads in the Missing Department where people wrote in search of vanished spouses, abandoned children, and separated lovers. During the pandemic, artist Ligia Bouton and poet Matt Donovan used Missing Department ads and the pages of Western Story to make erasure poems and drawings that interrogate loss and hope for human connection. Missing Department contains every poem and drawing paired along with each ad that inspired them. Included is a lyric essay by Donovan.