Anyone who can’t visit Orient but still wants to get a taste of it can do so thanks to this week’s edition of The New Yorker.
Featured in the Jan. 2, 2017, issue is a poem by Jonathan Galassi entitled “Orient Epithalamion,” which describes the end of the busy season in the small hamlet.
The work makes note of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s visit this July, references locals such as Orient Country Store owners Miriam Foster and Grayson Murphy, details the traffic brought by the Cross Sound Ferry and mentions wildlife that graces the area, like deer, turkeys and bay scallops.
“Fall will touch down in golden Orient, where ospreys float and peace comes dropping slow,” Galassi begins the 13-stanza poem. “There will be pumpkins by the ton at Latham’s. The trees will re-rehearse their yearly show.”
Galassi, president and publisher at Farrar, Straus & Giroux in New York City, published his first novel, “Muse,” in 2015. The book earned praise from The New York Times Sunday Book Review, which called it both “a love song and a takedown” of the New York publishing industry.
Curious as to why he chose Orient for his poem, we sent an email to Galassi.
“We’ve been spending summer in Orient for the past few years and as you can see have become very attached to the place,” he told northforker.
The word “epithalamion” refers to a poem celebrating a marriage. In this case, it’s that of architects and Orient homeowners Barry Bergdoll and Bill Ryall, friends of Galassi who are mentioned in the poem.
Galassi has also written two poetry books, “Morning Run” and “North Street.” He has had three other poems published by The New Yorker over the past 17 years. He gave a reading and signing of “Muse” at Floyd Memorial Library in Greenport in August 2015.
Interested in listening to an audio recording of the poem? Visit The New Yorker website.