Archives for posts with tag: s writing

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MAY
by Jonathan Galassi

The backyard apple tree gets sad so soon,
takes on a used-up, feather-duster look
within a week.

The ivy’s spring reconnaissance campaign
sends red feelers out and up and down
to find the sun.

Ivy from last summer clogs the pool,
brewing a loamy, wormy, tea-leaf mulch
soft to the touch

and rank with interface of rut and rot.
The month after the month they say is cruel
is and is not.

SOURCE: “May” appears in Jonathan Galassi‘s collection North Street, available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Apple tree blooming in late spring” by Steve Kuzma, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  In addition to publishing two volumes of poetry, Morning Run (1998) and North Street (2000), Jonathan Galassi is an eminent translator of Italian poetry. Galassi studied poetry at Harvard University with Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and is an honorary chairman of the Academy of American Poets. In addition to acting as poetry editor of the Paris Review for 10 years, Galassi has served as a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin, and as executive editor and later president of Farrar, Straus & Giroux. In 2008, he received the Maxwell E. Perkins Award, which recognizes an editor, publisher, or agent who “has discovered, nurtured and championed writers of fiction in the U.S.”

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AMERICAN SMOOTH
by Rita Dove

We were dancing—it must have
been a foxtrot or a waltz,
something romantic but
requiring restraint,
rise and fall, precise
execution as we moved
into the next song without
stopping, two chests heaving
above a seven-league
stride—such perfect agony,
one learns to smile through,
ecstatic mimicry
being the sine qua non
of American Smooth.
And because I was distracted
by the effort of
keeping my frame
(the leftward lean, head turned
just enough to gaze out
past your ear and always
smiling, smiling),
I didn’t notice
how still you’d become until
we had done it
(for two measures?
four?)—achieved flight,
that swift and serene
magnificence,
before the earth
remembered who we were
and brought us down.

SOURCE: “American Smooth” appears in Rita Dove’s collection American Smooth (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2004), available at Amazon.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rita Dove made her formal literary debut in 1980 with the poetry collection The Yellow House on the Corner, In works like the verse-novel Thomas and Beulah (1986), which won the Pulitzer Prize, On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Sonata Mulattica (2009), Dove treats historical events with a personal touch. In addition to poetry, Dove has published works of fiction, including the short story collection Fifth Sunday (1990) and the novel Through the Ivory Gate (1992). Her play The Darker Face of the Earth (1996) was produced at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Dove is also an acclaimed lyricist, and has written lyrics for composers ranging from Tania León to John Williams. Dove was named US Poet Laureate in 1993, the youngest poet ever elected to the position. Dove has continued to play an important role in the reception of American poetry through her work as editor of the Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry (2011). She is currently Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.