Features

Metamorphosis: From Light Verse to the Poetry of Witness

How did I become a very old poet, and a polemicist at that? In the Writer’s Chronicle of December 2010 I described myself as largely self-educated. In an era before creative writing classes became a staple of the college curriculum, I was “piecemeal poetry literate”—in love with Gerard Manley Hopkins and A. . . .

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Once in a While I Gave Up

 

Once in a while I gave up, and let myself 

remember how much I’d liked the way my ex’s

hips were set, the head of the femur which

rode, not shallow, not deep, in the socket 

of the pelvis, . . .

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We Are All of Us Passing Through

I came through Monarch Pass in Colorado, fifteen thousand feet high and fourteen miles out of the nearest town—I came through on a 650cc Triumph motorcycle about dusk dark in late September of 1958. It was snowing lightly. I was freezing. I had been on the road for a little over a year, . . .

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Two Birds in the Evening

 

When that oriole whistled from the orchard

it seemed frankly to be asking, You got

a problem with that? Its orange and black

was brash as a high-school letter sweater.

No problem, no problem, . . .

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Night Piece

 

Sometimes the things dreamers do seem incomprehensible to others, and the world wonders why dreamers do not see the way others do.

—Queen Marie of Romania, at the dedication of the unfinished Maryhill Museum of Art, 1926

 

Eighty-eight beams of radiation. . . .

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