Breughelian Madrigal

Lisa Russ Spaar

Winter, The Birdtrap, Pieter Brueghel II
A matter of low countries —ice-stunned canals, dusk-cheeky
planks scalloped with steaming bowls,skates, a scape theatrical & claustrophobic —
multifarious concoction on viewbut private too, woman with hiked wool
skirt peeing in snow, old shed doorpropped up, rigged with trick stick to trip & floor
unwitting doves:   scant meat, true.Wicker bones.  Steep rooftop snoods,
black trees, vista latticed, un-baited,single black crow bearing the weight
of thought, pre-modern, anachronistic& so already slaughtered, I know myself in it.

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Lisa Russ Spaar’s most recent poetry collection is Orexia (2017, Persea). She is the director of the creative writing program at The University of Virginia, and a contributing editor of On the Seawall.

On the Seawall Logo

February 2019

Founder: Ron Slate

On The Seawall is a community gallery for new writing and commentary during a time of emergency. (There always is, and there always has been, an emergency.)

I launched On The Seawall in 2007 as a site for my personal page and occasional comment, but as my involvement with commentary grew along with the size of the site’s readership, On The Seawall soon evolved into a regularly refreshed book review site. In the spring of 2018, as the old and unfixable code underlying the site began to break down, I considered three options: shut down, rebuild On The Seawall as it stands, or apply the resource and direct the site’s audience to a broader purpose. After discussing the potential with my friends, I decided to relaunch On The Seawall to accommodate diverse commentary, new writing across genres, and art. In particular, the site ]presents and discusses poetry, lyrical and speculative fiction, literature in translation, and cultural expression via essays and reviews.

We are living in a time of emergency during which our art may act as performances of intervention. Back in 2007, I titled this site On The Seawall for a reason — because there is always an emergency, communal and/or personal, requiring a stay against the flood.

Joining me in this effort are several contributing editors:
Daisy Fried, Tarfia Faizullah, Dean Rader, Kyle Dargan, Elaine Sexton, Mark Athitakis, Lisa Russ Spaar, Andrew Epstein, Victoria Chang, Kimberly Grey, Philip Metres, Laura Marris, David Roderick, Airea Matthews, Jonathan Farmer. and Michael Lindgren.

—Ron Slate

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