Selfie Interview on New Poetry Book: Me, Myself, and the Cosmos by Miriam Sagan

Me: Hi Mir! What’s new?

Me: Well…as you are probably are keeping up with world events I’ll focus on something personal and positive. I have a new book of poetry out. STAR GAZING from Cholla Needles.

Me: How did that happen?

Me: Well, last autumn I gave a reading in Joshua Tree. I love the Cholla Needles magazine. The whole poetry scene there felt great—so grassroots and homey, but full of interest. And editor Rich Soos is a quintessential small press publisher with a lot of heart. The whole thing just took me back to my roots in community and to a lifetime in independent publishing.

Me: Sounds nice! I bet you wanted to send them a manuscript.

Me: I did, but I couldn’t figure out what. Finally my husband Rich Feldman gave me the idea—a collected book of my poems about astronomy.

Me: Great idea! Did Rich realize it would all be about him?

Me: Maybe not at first. But he loves the sky, and has shown me a lot, so he has an, excuse me, “starring” role.

Me: The poems go back to the 80’s?

Me: Just a few. And I wrote a lot of new ones. One for each planet, in fact. But not following the usual archetypes. For example, Venus is “The Warrior.”

Me; Was it hard to pick what went in?

Me: Well, I discovered that the moon, or Venus, seems to rise in most of my poems! But I stuck to ones with a real astronomical theme, including observatories, model solar systems, comets, and yes, my famous cousin Carl.

Me: How can people get a copy?

Me: Well, Mir, there are copies stacked up in the study…oh, you mean OTHER people! For a signed/review copy just write me at msagan1035@aol.com.
You can get a freebie from me for just a tiny review.

On Amazon: https://amzn.to/2EmPiBt

Me: Are you happy?

Me: Usually I get nervous when a book comes out. But this volume has a really nice vibe—feels good, looks good. People seem to like it! So, yes.

Me: And what are you wearing?

Me: A Cosmic Shirt.

Me. Did you get that just to promo the book?

Me: Yup.

Cosmos by Miriam Sagan

For those of you who ask…

“Am I related to this guy
Carl Sagan, and who is he?”
My daughter wants to know.

Yes, I say, a famous—very
famous astronomer, and I think
he is your second cousin, twice removed

because he was my father’s
second cousin (my grandfather
was his great uncle)

or so we’d been told. Like many things
he was forbidden to us.
My father the atheist

kept a kind of kosher—
Carl Jung, no
Karl Marx, yes

Freud, yes
Lenin, maybe
at least he once told me

“the end justifies the means”
but I was a child, and helpless,
and I knew he was lying.

And for some reason
Carl Sagan, no
although his mother

had been an union organizer
and my grandfather
a factory owner

but somehow
we weren’t
rooting for her.

When my brother was in grade school
he wrote our Carl, asking
“send me pictures of Venus”

for a school report
and miraculously
a large manila envelope

appeared
full of brilliantly colored, high resolution
planets…

On his deathbed, Carl
told my real first cousin
“You aren’t really Sagans”

something about Ellis Island
and a brother-law’s last name
“The Sagans are the smart ones.”

Who could quarrel
with that assessment?
The famous astronomer

handsome and opinionated
like my father
made the last name

that isn’t really ours
so well-known
that at the cash register

people still ask me
and say
“billions and billions”

and I always laugh
and say “yes”
and “stars.”

Class At The Planetarium–Poem by Miriam Sagan

The spring semester is about to start, and with it all the delight, confusion, and amusement that teaching brings. I came across this poem from a few years ago and wanted to share it.

***

Class at the Planetarium

Enjoys seeing “O’Ryans belt,”
Didn’t know there was a bear in the sky,
Thinks the moon landing
Was a conspiracy,
And thanks me because
They love astrology.

The physicist says
My face in the mirror
Is nanoseconds younger
Than my real face
Because of how
Light travels
(memory asks
how did I get so old?)

And then one student says:
Where there is a lot of space
There is a lot of time…