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Music Is Time

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Music is time, said the violin master.
You can’t miss the stop or you’ll miss the train.
One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four,
one, two, three, four.
She clapped her hands together
as the boy moved the bow across the strings.
One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four,
one, two, three, four, the violin master shouted,
louder and more shrill so that her voice
traveled through the house like a metronome,
guiding him, commanding him to translate the beat,
to trust his own internal rhythm.
Good boy, she said.
See how hard you have to be on yourself?
How will your violin know who you are
unless you make it speak?
Poem copyright ©2008 by Jill Bialosky, from her most recent book of poems, Intruder, Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, by permission of Jill Bialosky and the publisher.
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Music Is Time

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  • Editor, poet, and novelist Jill Bialosky was born and raised in Cleveland. She earned a BA at Ohio University, an MA at Johns Hopkins University, and an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
    Bialosky’s free verse poems explore themes of desire, domesticity, and myth. In an  interview with the journal Identity Theory, Bialosky spoke to the role of personal experience in her work: “It's the point at which you leap from the personal into the imagination that I think that the process of art is made. The emotional life of any work tends to be autobiographical.”
    Bialosky’s poetry collections include Intruder (2008), a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize; Subterranean (2001); and The End of Desire (1997). She has also written the novels The Life Room (2007) and House Under Snow (2002), and the memoir History of a Suicide: My Sister's Unfinished Life (2011). With Helen Schulman, Bialosky...

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