Ann Haley

American Life in Poetry: Column 227

 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE


Jane Hirshfield, a Californian and one of my favorite poets, writes beautiful image-centered poems of clarity and concision, which sometimes conclude with a sudden and surprising deepening. Here's just one example.

American Life in Poetry: Column 226

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Elizabeth Bishop, one of our greatest American poets, once wrote a long poem in which the sudden appearance of a moose on a highway creates a community among a group of strangers on a bus. Here Ronald Wallace, a Wisconsin poet, gives us a sighting with similar results.

Sustenance

American Life in Poetry: Column 225

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

There have been many poems written in which a photograph is described in detail, and this one by Margaret Kaufman, of the Bay Area in California, uses the snapshot to carry her further, into the details of memory.

Photo, Brownie Troop, St. Louis, 1949

American Life in Poetry: Column 224

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

When we're young, it seems there are endless possibilities for lives we might lead, and then as we grow older and the opportunities get fewer we begin to realize that the life we've been given is the only one we're likely to get. Here's Jean Nordhaus, of the Washington, D.C. area, exploring this process.

I Was Always Leaving

I was always leaving, I was
about to get up and go, I was
on my way, not sure where.
Somewhere else. Not here.
Nothing here was good enough.

American Life in Poetry: Column 223

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

There's lots of literature about the loss of innocence, because we all share in that loss and literature is about what we share. Here's a poem by Alexandra Teague, a San Franciscan, in which a child's awakening to the alphabet coincides with another awakening: the unsettling knowledge that all of us don't see things in the same way.

Language Lessons

American Life in Poetry: Column 222

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Coleman Barks, who lives in Georgia, is not only the English language's foremost translator of the poems of the 13th century poet, Rumi, but he's also a loving grandfather, and for me that's even more important. His poems about his granddaughter, Briny, are brim full of joy. Here's one:

Glad

In the glory of the gloaming-green soccer
field her team, the Gladiators, is losing

ten to zip. She never loses interest in
the roughhouse one-on-one that comes

American Life in Poetry: Column 221

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Sometimes, it's merely the sound of a child's voice in a nearby room that makes a parent feel immensely lucky. To celebrate Father's Day, here's a joyful poem of fatherhood by Todd Boss, who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

This Morning in a Morning Voice

A New Branch for CRRL Patrons: England Run Library

A New Branch for CRRL Patrons: England Run Library

The newest member of the CRRL family, England Run Library, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010. Visit the England Run branch page for more information.

American Life in Poetry: Column 219

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

As we all know, getting older isn't hard to do. Time continues on. In this poem, Deborah Warren of Massachusetts asks us to think about the life lived between our past and present selves, as indicated in the marginal comments of an old book. There's something beautiful about books allowing us to talk to who we once were, and this poem captures this beauty.

Marginalia

American Life in Poetry: Column 218

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Here is one of my favorite mother-daughter poems, by Marie Howe, who lives in New York City and who has a charming little girl.

Hurry

We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store
and the gas station and the green market and
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry,
as she runs along two or three steps behind me
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.