Many Gendered Mothers: Ronna Bloom on Rhea Tregebov
Monday, May 21, 2018
Ronna Bloom on Rhea Tregebov
In one of the last incarnations of the Bohemian Embassy on Queen Street, I got up for the first time to read poems. The room was packed and I knew no one.
When I put my foot up on the small step to get on the stage, I heard a voice in my head say, ‘this is the next thing you’re gonna do.’ I read in an understated, almost nonchalant way I thought I should, and someone yelled, louder. I realized no one would ever know these poems the way I knew them, so I belted them out. The doing itself was enough, but the response came back like meeting myself in a wave.
A woman I’d never met, Rhea Tregebov, came over and said something nice about the poems. I said, “you look familiar.” She said, “that’s ’cause I look like you.” I was awkward and she was friendly. But boldly, I asked if she’d talk to me about my poems. She said yes. (Yes!) I bought her book The Proving Grounds, sat in the Future Bakery, opened it and read the first poem:
Faith in the Weather
for my sister-in-law, Judy Tregebov,
killed in a car crash January 1987
I have to travel through so much weather to get to you.
I’m travelling at 30,000 feet, at 600 miles an hour,
my suitcases full, flying into sadness.
The Proving Grounds (Vehicule Press, 1991)
I was a flood of feeling –– both from the pain of the poem and the permission to write it. ‘You can say this?’ I thought. Here in this expression of love and grief, was permission to write directly about loss, and implicitly whatever matters to you –– to me –– right now. A door opened I had no idea was closed, or maybe was no door. It was all open
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