|Variations in an Emergency
Anne Lovering Rounds Assistant Professor English Depatment
Hostos English Department faculty member Anne Lovering Rounds had her first book, Variations in an Emergency, published at the end of 2016. Praised by literary critics and musicians alike, the work is a collection of poems about the way longing and loss recur. The book’s 32 poems resonate with literary and musical references, and the book is inspired by the structure of Baroque composer J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations for keyboard, in which an aria is the theme for 30 subsequent variations and then returns to end the set. Thus the book opens with a poem called “Aria,” which contains the subjects of the other poems in the collection. When the theme returns at the end of the Goldberg Variations, the experience is one of closure and instability: something monumental has ended but is also starting again. In the same way, the book also ends with a poem called “Aria,” a poem that is both an ending and a hint that the sequence could start over. The inaugural collection of a pianists’ poet, these 32 short lyric poems bear witness to the fact that memories, encounters, dreams, and desires repeat but never resolve. Variations in an Emergency was also the 2014 winner of the Cathlamet Prize for Poetry.