The Ruins of Nostalgia 38

Donna Stonecipher
In the fall we were nostalgic for the summer. In the winter we were nostalgic for the fall. In the summer we were nostalgic for the spring. But in the spring we were not nostalgic for the winter, not even for its quiet, or its hot cocoas, or its video fires, though we did ask our father from time to time to tell us about how, when he was a child, the man-made lake in the middle of our city froze over every winter, and how one December day he broke through the ice and was only saved from drowning by a neighbor boy whose name he can no longer remember. We were nostalgic for the frozen lake we had never seen, that is, for the lake we had never seen frozen, the man-made lake we had swum in during the summers after the lake froze. It was hard to imagine the summer lake frozen. It was hard to imagine the winter lake summery. It was hard to imagine the lake being made, and not just spontaneously welling up its murky green effluence. We were nostalgic for winters that had descended before we were sentient, as if those winters existed in snow globes we could stow on our nightstands and dream of falling and falling through the ice we are always rescued from by neighbors who become strangers over time. The lake is always melting in the ruins of nostalgia.

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Print This Poem

Donna Stonecipher’s fifth book of poetry, Transaction Histories, is forthcoming from University of Iowa Press in Fall 2018. Her prose book Prose Poetry and the City was recently published by Parlor Press. She lives in Berlin.

The Spectacle

Issue 5

St. Louis, Missouri

Washington University – St Louis

Founding Editor & Co-Editor-in-Chief: Kelly Caldwell
Co-Editor-in-Chief: Cassie Donish
Poetry Editor: Emma Wilson
Assistant Poetry Editor: Colin Criss

We’re a little cracked, and we like it that way. We aim for content that reminds us that our lenses matter—they focus, distort, clarify, conceal. We seek out and publish revelatory writing, while also knowing that there are forms of revelation that come only through distortion or concealment. Aristotle, in his Poetics, isolated six aspects of dramatic art, of which “spectacle” (opsis) was the least important. We disagree.

We like scholars who write great poetry, poets who write incisive monographs, credulous skeptics, wary believers, hidebound experimentalists, radical realists, mystical engineers, analytical mystics, catholic snobs, and modish antiquarians. We have a soft spot for keen amateurs and sincere dilettantes. We actively seek to transgress the border between creative and critical work: see, for example, Dan Beachy-Quick’s essay-poems in our inaugural issue.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.