Costanza e Preziosa

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Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry, 2014 ▪ Winner

Scott M. Miller

Costanza e Preziosa


      Portrait of Costanza Bonarelli, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1636 – 38.
      “Model, Mistress, Muse. . . .”    —Sarah McPhee

      Though my body withers
      my soul is unmoved;
      . . . . . . .


      from the bondage of this life,
      I call out to you:
      . . . . . . .
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      “The two-column poem, ideally made to be read straight across the columns as well as down one column and then the other, is notoriously difficult to compose. Almost always, its tour-de-force element overwhelms its subject and theme. Not so here. “Costanza e Preziosa” cries out to the reader. It sends us back to the famously scandalous sculpture by Bernini. Its passionate imagery—that hair!—reminds us of how each female lover can be, separately and together, “model, mistress, muse” and of how great passion sculpts the ages. Crafted with notable devotion, this is one of the finest ekphrastic poems I now know.”—Dick Allen, Final Judge, 2014 Able Muse Write Prize (for Poetry) on this winning poem, “Costanza e Preziosa” by Scott M. Miller.