September 9, 2012 in Features

American Life in Poetry

Ted Kooser U.S. poet laureate, 2004-’06

Perhaps by the time this column appears, our economy will have improved and people who want to work can find good work. Minnie Bruce Pratt, who lives in Syracuse, N.Y., has a new book, mentioned below, in which there are a number of poems about the difficulties of finding work and holding on to it. Here’s an example:

Temporary Job

Leaving again. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be

grieving. The particulars of place lodged in me,

like this room I lived in for eleven days,

how I learned the way the sun laid its palm

over the side window in the morning, heavy

light, how I’ll never be held in that hand again.

Poem copyright 2011 by Minnie Bruce Pratt “Inside the Money Machine” (Carolina Wren Press, 2011). Reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by The Poetry Foundation and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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