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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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American Life in Poetry: ‘Black Belt’

By Ted Kooser U.S. Poet Laureate (2004-06)

How much pain and anger can a good poet pack into just a few words? A lot in this 15-word haiku by Laura Foley from her 2019 collection of poems from Headmistress Press titled “Why I Never Finished My Dissertation,” her seventh book. Foley lives in Vermont.

Black Belt

Her husband in a coma,

she in the dojo,

learning to kill with her toes

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It also is supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2019 by Laura Foley, “Black Belt” from “Why I Never Finished My Dissertation” (Headmistress Press, 2019). Poem reprinted by permission of Laura Foley and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2020 by the Poetry Foundation.

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