• Madison White

New Poetry: "Virga" in The Cardiff Review


Picture by Louis Reed via The Cardiff Review

This blogpost is more or less just a way to announce, with slightly more extravagance, the arrival of my poem “Virga” into the published world. As most “real poets” say, one should let the poem speak for itself, but I can’t help but bestow a little backstory about this particular piece.


Like many of my poems, this one began with a particular phrase/image calling my attention. In this case, it was “the hands of lightning reaching down and pressing their thumbs to the earth.” Unlike many of my poems, the rest of the poem was written nearly all at once on the notes of my iPhone whilst trying to fall asleep that night. The next morning, I typed it all up (in a semi-sonnet form, if I remember correctly) and sent it off to my workshop classmates for Monday critique. It went through many iterations of rhymes and slant-rhymes, spacing attempts, and endings (with which I am never satisfied). Its published form with its liberal wide spacing is a far cry from my usually compact style.


Though I really should stop explaining it, I feel it worthwhile to set the scene. This poem is distinctly Kansan, as many of my poems are, and takes place during a particular weather phenomena when you can see a summer storm approaching from miles away – usually accompanied by a spectacular lightning show. The air is warm and thick, the windows are down, and the wide roads are uncommonly clear. Enter “Virga.”


Read it here.


A big thank you to The Cardiff Review for publishing and editing this poem. An even bigger thank you to my classmates and teachers at the University of Manchester for their suggestions and interpretations of this piece and many others.

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