“You see with the sight of burning eyes./The faces inside the faces./They are the children of fire with classic features,/no matter who they are, no matter how deformed.”—By Chard deNiord
By Claire Bateman
GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—May 2017—Chard deNiord is the author of three books of poetry, Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990), Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), and Night Mowing, forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2005. His poems and essays have appeared recently in The American Scholar, The New England Review, Gettysburg Review, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Poetry, The Iowa Review, Poetry East, AGNI, Green Mountains Review, The Harvard Review, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares and The Kenyon Review. He is associate professor of English at Providence College.
Inside the Fire
By Chard deNiord
You see that everyone is famous.
You hardly know what to say.
“It is a great honor to meet you.”
“I am fortunate indeed to make your acquaintance.”
But who wouldn’t think you were being facetious?
You see with the sight of burning eyes.
The faces inside the faces.
They are the children of fire with classic features,
no matter who they are, no matter how deformed.
They are the stars in the only theater,
each brilliant actor in the role of her life.
Each face burns with a different light.
Blow on the soul.
See the face.
Blow on the soul.
See the face.
The Poet’s Biography: Chard deNiord was born on December 17, 1952, in New Haven, Connecticut, and brought up in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he attended Lynchburg College. The son of a doctor, deNiord anticipated going into the medical profession as well until his college professors introduced him to religious studies, which he chose as his major. DeNiord graduated from Lynchburg College in 1975 and went on to earn his MDiv from Yale Divinity School in 1978. Before pursuing ordination, deNiord got a job working as an inpatient psychiatric aide at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Five years later, he left to pursue poetry, attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he received his MFA in 1985.
Returning to New England, deNiord taught at private schools for over a decade while publishing his poems. In 1990, he published his first poetry collection, Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990), while teaching comparative religions and philosophy at the Putney School in Vermont.
In 1998, deNiord began teaching at Providence College, where he was eventually named the tenth recipient of the Joseph R. Accinno Faculty Teaching Award. That same year, he founded the Spirit and Letter Workshop, a ten-day program of workshops and lectures in Patzquaro, Mexico, featuring faculty poets such as Thomas Lux, Gerald Stern, Jean Valentine, and Ellen Bryant Voigt, among others. In 2002, deNiord cofounded the New England College MFA program in poetry, which he directed until 2007. DeNiord is currently a professor of English at Providence College and the Poet Laureate of Vermont. He lives in Westminster West, Vermont with his wife, Liz.
“Inside the Fire” first appeared in AGNI Online in 2004; published at Boston University.