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Stories tagged: American Life in Poetry


American Life in Poetry: ‘Youth’ by David Steingass

It’s been a very long time since I was young, but I remember the giddiness of first love, and David Steingass, a Wisconsin poet, shows us in this poem how …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Covering the Mirrors’ by Carol V. Davis

Carol V. Davis lives in California, and once was an artist-in-residence at the Homestead Monument in Nebraska, where I met her. The following poem, her fourth to be published in …


American Life in Poetry: ‘No Encore’ by Betty Adcock

For me, poetry’s most moving subject is impermanence, and I will never read too many poems about it, each with their own very personal and specific points of view.


American Life in Poetry: ‘After the Opera’ by Richard Schiffman

Here is a poem by Richard Schiffman that has a little fun with the hair-on-fire excesses of grand opera.


American Life in Poetry: ‘The Address Book’

I’ve arrived at an age at which I avoid looking into my old address books, although I’ve kept them all. Too many of those addresses are those of people no …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Strict Diet’

James Crews, who lives in Vermont, was for two years our assistant at American Life in Poetry. A fine poet in his own right, he has just published a new …


American Life in Poetry: ‘In Spring’ by Rose King

I’m writing this column in the earliest days of another spring, and here’s a fine spring poem from Rose King’s book “Time and Peonies,” from Hummingbird Press. The poet lives …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Good News’ by Steve Langan

Some of the mannerisms of poetry that can get in the way of an everyday reader’s enjoyment are elevated diction, obscure references, and a vocabulary that requires a trip to …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Startled’ by Sally Bliumis-Dunn

I’ve never seen a frigate bird (or a frigate) but wanted to offer you a poem to prove that the hawks and crows of the Great Plains aren’t the only …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Bird’ by Dorianne Laux

With Dorianne Laux I’ve shared the experience of having a bird enraged at her reflection in a window.


American Life in Poetry: ‘Yard Sale’

I’m devoted to yard and garage sales, and love to spend time with friendly strangers in scuffed front yards and oily, dim garages. Here’s a poem by Matthew Brennan, who …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Laundress’

One thing I’ve tried to do with this column is to show off poets who do indeed write about contemporary American life, and who see deep into the ordinary parts …


American Life in Poetry: ‘From where I stand’

Poems that move back and forth through time can be intriguing. In this poem by Pat Schneider, she looks deep into the past and evokes it in compelling detail, though …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Aquarium’

I’ve had a couple of aquariums (or is the plural aquaria?), but I didn’t take very good care of either one.


American Life in Poetry: ‘The Vanity of the Dragonfly

Nancy Willard, who died in February, was one of my favorite poets, with an enviable gift for inventive description. She published poetry, fiction, essays and children’s books, one of which, …


American Life in Poetry: For Elizabeth, Who Loved to Square Dance

At a friend’s wedding, as she stood in her reception line, an older woman leaned in and whispered, “Always rinse your dishrag in cold water so it won’t stink.” Advice! …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Bees Were Better’ by Shihab Nye

The University of Minnesota Press has published a fine collection of bee poems, “If Bees are Few.” Here’s one by one of my favorite poets, Naomi Shihab Nye, who lives …


American Life in Poetry: ‘The Hot Dog Factory (1937)’

Grace Cavalieri, who lives in Washington, D.C., has performed a great service for American poetry over the past forty years with her public radio show, “The Poet and the Poem.” …


American Life in Poetry: ‘The Guardians’ by Jill Bialosky

Jill Bialosky is a New Yorker, an editor at W. W. Norton, and a daughter grieving the loss of loved ones.


American Life in Poetry: ‘Milkweed’ by Bradford Tice

Here’s a poem celebrating milkweed by Bradford Tice, whose most recent book of poetry is “What the Night Numbered,” from Trio House Press. Our Monarch butterfly population depends upon milkweed, …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Snow in August’ by Catherine Stearns

Poets are experts at capturing those moments when one thing reminds us of another. Here snow reminds Catherine Stearns of something we can imagine took place years before.


American Life in Poetry: ‘Honeysuckle’ by Karla Morton

My boyhood home in Iowa was surrounded by honeysuckle bushes that my father sprayed with the hose on summer evenings, and we’d open the windows and have 1940s air conditioning, …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Porcupine’ by Kelly Madigan

Kelly Madigan lives in Nebraska and this poem is from her book,


American Life in Poetry: ‘Nothing But Good’ by Sarah White

We’re taught to never speak ill of the dead. Well, then, what do we do? Perhaps we forgive. Here’s a lovely poem by Sarah White, who lives in New York. …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Stung’ by Heid E. Erdrich

The University of Minnesota Press has published a wonderful new collection of bee poems,


American Life in Poetry: ‘Sunday Flying’ by Patricia Hooper

During the 12 years we’ve been doing this weekly column, today’s poem will be the first time I’ve offered you a plane ride. It’s just one of a number of …


American Life in Poetry: ‘Umbrella’ by Connie Wanek

I recently had the privilege of editing Connie Wanek’s


American Life in Poetry: ‘Wild Life’ by Grace Cavalieri

There are few writers who have done more to promote the work of other writers than Grace Cavalieri, who lives in the nation’s capitol.


American Life in Poetry: ‘The New Church’

Surely you’ve seen those Japanese scroll paintings in which tiny figures trail up the side of an enormous mountain? Here’s a poem about one such life by Lucia Cherciu, who …


American Life in Poetry: Oak Grove Cemetery

How many Oak Grove Cemeteries can there be in America? There’s one just a mile from my home. Here’s another, with a poet, Don Thompson, to show us around.