Archives for posts with tag: U.S. Poet Laureate

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Morning Poem 
by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser

I want to describe my life in hushed tones
like a TV nature program. Dawn in the north.
His nose stalks the air for newborn coffee.

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Find more poems by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser in BRAIDED CREEK: A Conversation in Poetry, available at Amazon.com.

Illustration: Label by Ray Troll for “Wicked Wolf: Raven’s Brew Gourmet Coffee” available at ravensbrew.com.

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EMPIRE OF DREAMS
by Charles Simic

On the first page of my dreambook
It’s always evening
In an occupied country.
Hour before the curfew.
A small provincial city.
The houses all dark.
The storefronts gutted.

I am on a street corner
Where I shouldn’t be.
Alone and coatless
I have gone out to look
For a black dog who answers to my whistle.
I have a kind of Halloween mask
Which I am afraid to put on.

Source: Charles Simic: Selected Early Poems (George Braziller Inc., 1999).

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Simic was born on May 9, 1938, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. In 1953, he left Yugoslavia with his mother and brother to join his father in the United States. His first poems were published in 1959, when he was 21. In 1961, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and in 1966 earned his Bachelor’s degree from New York University. His first full-length collection of poems, What the Grass Says, was published the following year. He has published more than 60 books including Jackstraws (Harcourt Brace, 1999), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Walking the Black Cat (Harcourt Brace, 1996), finalist for the National Book Award in poetry; and The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems (1990), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2000, his many awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. When appointed U.S. Poet Laureate — a post he served from 2007-2008 — he said, “I am especially touched and honored to be selected because I am an immigrant boy who didn’t speak English until I was 15.”

Photo of Charles Simic by Michelle Blankenship, USA TODAY.

 

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WATERMELONS
by Charles Simic

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Simic (born May 9, 1938), a Serbian-American poet, was co-poetry editor of the Paris Review. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 for The World Doesn’t End, and was a finalist of the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for Selected Poems, 1963-1983 and in 1987 for Unending Blues. He was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2007. (Read more at wikipedia.org.)

“Watermelons” is found in Charles Simic’s poetry collection Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk (George Braziller, 1974), ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The book is available at Amazon.com.

Photo: “Watermelons at Julia’s Fruit Stand” (Los Molinos, CA) by Michelle Hickock, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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a song in the front yard
By Gwendolyn Brooks

I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows.   
A girl gets sick of a rose.

I want to go in the back yard now   
And maybe down the alley,
To where the charity children play.   
I want a good time today.

They do some wonderful things.
They have some wonderful fun.
My mother sneers, but I say it’s fine
How they don’t have to go in at quarter to nine.   
My mother, she tells me that Johnnie Mae   
Will grow up to be a bad woman.
That George’ll be taken to Jail soon or late
(On account of last winter he sold our back gate).

But I say it’s fine. Honest, I do.
And I’d like to be a bad woman, too,
And wear the brave stockings of night-black lace   
And strut down the streets with paint on my face.

… “a song in the front yard” appears in Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, available at Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gwendolyn Brooks (June 7, 1917 – December 3, 2000) was an American poet. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 and was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985.

Photo: Gwendolyn Brooks, 1950s.

…and a happy June 7th birthday to Gwendolyn Brooks!

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Night Poem
by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser

The moon put her white hands 
on my shoulders, looked into my face,
and without a word
sent me on into the night. 

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Find more poems by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser in BRAIDED CREEK: A Conversation in Poetry, available at Amazon.com.

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Dawn Poem 
by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser

Clear summer dawn,
first sun steams moisture
redly off the cabin roof,
a cold fire. Passing raven
eyeballs it with a quawk.

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Find more poems by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser in BRAIDED CREEK: A Conversation in Poetry, available at Amazon.com.

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Morning Poem
by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser

I want to describe my life in hushed tones
like a TV nature program. Dawn in the north.
His nose stalks the air for newborn coffee.

###

Find more poems by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser in BRAIDED CREEK: A Conversation in Poetry, available at Amazon.com.

Illustration: Label by Ray Troll for “Wicked Wolf: Raven’s Brew Gourmet Coffee” available at ravensbrew.com.

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April 24, 2013 marks the 108th anniversary of the birth of multi-hyphenate Robert Penn Warren — a poet-novelist-essayist-editor-critic — the only person to win a Pulitzer Prize for both fiction and poetry, and likely the most decorated American author of all time.

Warren (1905-1989) received the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for his novel All the King’s Men and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 and 1979. From 1944-1945, Warren served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. His other honors and awards include Presidential Medal of Freedom (1980), MacArthur Fellowship (1981), designation as first U.S. Poet Laureate (1986), and National Medal of Arts (1987).

Photo: Robert Penn Warren working on the revisions of a book in a barn near his home (April 1956 by Leonard McCombe, Time/Life, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED).

Let’s celebrate this remarkable writer’s birthday with one of his most beautiful poems.

TELL ME A STORY

by Robert Penn Warren

Long ago, in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood
By a dirt road, in first dark, and heard
The great geese hoot northward.

I could not see them, there being no moon
And the stars sparse. I heard them.

I did not know what was happening in my heart.

It was the season before the elderberry blooms,
Therefore they were going north.

The sound was passing northward. 

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We are honored and pleased to report that poetry by the 13th U.S. Poet Laureate (2004-2006), Ted Kooser, will appear in the Silver Birch Press SUMMER ANTHOLOGY. We will keep the name of the poem under wraps until we release the collection on June 1, 2013. In the meantime, here is another beautiful poem by Ted Kooser, “A Happy Birthday,” found in his collection DELIGHTS AND SHADOWS (Copper Canyon Press, 2004), which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Kooser will celebrate his 74th birthday on April 25th.

A HAPPY BIRTHDAY

by Ted Kooser

This evening, I sat by an open window

and read till the light was gone and the book

was no more than a part of the darkness.

I could easily have switched on a lamp,

but I wanted to ride this day down into night,

to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page

with the pale gray ghost of my hand. 

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O CHEESE
By Donald Hall

In the pantry the dear dense cheeses, Cheddars and harsh
Lancashires; Gorgonzola with its magnanimous manner;
the clipped speech of Roquefort; and a head of Stilton
that speaks in a sensuous riddling tongue like Druids.
O cheeses of gravity, cheeses of wistfulness, cheeses
that weep continually because they know they will die.
O cheeses of victory, cheeses wise in defeat, cheeses
fat as a cushion, lolling in bed until noon.
Liederkranz ebullient, jumping like a small dog, noisy;
Pont l’Evêque intellectual, and quite well informed; Emmentaler
decent and loyal, a little deaf in the right ear;
and Brie the revealing experience, instantaneous and profound.
O cheeses that dance in the moonlight, cheeses
that mingle with sausages, cheeses of Stonehenge.
O cheeses that are shy, that linger in the doorway,
eyes looking down, cheeses spectacular as fireworks.
Reblochon openly sexual; Caerphilly like pine trees, small
at the timberline; Port du Salut in love; Caprice des Dieux
eloquent, tactful, like a thousand-year-old hostess;
and Dolcelatte, always generous to a fault.
O village of cheeses, I make you this poem of cheeses,
O family of cheeses, living together in pantries,
O cheeses that keep to your own nature, like a lucky couple,
this solitude, this energy, these bodies slowly dying.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donald Hall (born 1928) was the first poetry editor of The Paris Review. He served as United States Poet Laureate (2006-2007) and has been the recipient of many award and honors, including Guggenheim Fellowships, designation as Poet Laureate of New Hampshire (198401989), National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, Los Angeles Times Book Prize in poetry, and the National Medal of Arts (2010).