Archive / 1990-1999

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Barnes, Jim 1999

Wednesday, March 10, 1999


Seems ages on the hill above the rocky point
I have kept my eyes on the horizon where sky
drops to sea. No sign of any ship I do not
recognize, just the ragtag wornout fishing fleet
about to sink. No single sail grabbing the wind
and fifty men at oars to tell us you are back.

– Jim Barnes, “Ithaka 2001”

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Watch this interview with Jim Barnes from the Oklahoma History Center:

On a high plateau where the earth rounds off
the edge of nothing and the sky pours down
like hail so heavy that the pickup squats
on its springs and groans toward the horizon,
you think of Andy, all those years long gone.

– Jim Barnes, “Heading East Out of Rock Springs”

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Zagajewski, Adam 1998

Friday, April 17, 1998


You who see our homes at night
and the frail walls of our conscience,
you who hear our conversations
droning on like sewing machines
–save me, tear me from sleep,
from amnesia.

– Adam Zagajewski, “Tierra del Fuego”

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Read an interview with Adam Zagajewski from Poets&Writers:

An Interview With Poet Adam Zagajewski

Born in Lvov in 1945, Adam Zagajewski is one of the most well-known and highly regarded contemporary Polish poets. His luminous, searching poems are imbued by a deep engagement with history, art, and life. His books include Tremor: Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1985), Canvas (FSG, 1991), Mysticism for Beginners (FSG, 1997), and Without End: New and Selected Poems (FSG, 2002).

Autumn is always too early.
The peonies are still blooming, bees
are still working out ideal states,
and the cold bayonets of autumn
suddenly glint in the fields and the wind

– Adam Zagajewski, “Autumn”

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Watch Adam Zagajewski read some of his poetry:

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Ullman, Leslie 1998

Wednesday, April 1, 1998


This is what you’ve longed for,
drops tapping the shinges
and the silent flowering of each word
printed on the page before you.

– Leslie Ullman, “Don’t Sleep Yet”

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Watch Leslie Ullman read some of her poetry:

When the sun peeks through the almost constant coloud cover, especially in early mornings, we are surround by white peaks, whole walls of white that make me feel I’m at a remote northern reach

– Leslie Ullman, “Altitude: Essay”

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Turow, Scott 1997; 1999

Wednesday, January 29, 1997
Tuesday, December 7, 1999


Watch Scott Turow read some of his work:

Read this interview with Scott Turow from BookPage:

Scott Turow

Write what you know. While writers are told that every day, a writer’s work is naturally that much better if what they know is pretty cool stuff. In Scott Turow’s latest book, Personal Injuries, the best-selling legal thriller writer takes what he knows his personal experience as a prosecutor in a major judicial corruption probe […]

Watch Scott Turow discuss how his political views influence his work:

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Tate, James 2001

Wednesday, September 19, 2001


On Monday, Miss Francis told her sixth grade class that she was getting married soon. The class was very happy for her, and they asked her lots of questions about her wedding plans. They never once mentioned the Civil War.

– James Tate, “Shiloh”

Broadside of James Tate's poem, "Shiloh."

Broadside of James Tate’s poem, “Shiloh.”

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Read this interview with James Tate from the Paris Review:

The Art of Poetry No. 92

James Tate, ca. 1965. Photograph by Elsa Dorfman James Vincent Tate was born on December 8, 1943, in Kansas City, Missouri. He was educated at Kansas State College and at the University of Iowa, where he was still a student when his first book, The Lost Pilot (1967), was…

Eventually we must combine nightmares
an angel smoking a cigarette on the steps
of the last national bank, said to me.
I put her out with my thumb. I don’t need that
cheap talk I’ve got my own problems.

– James Tate, “Fuck the Astronauts”

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Swander, Mary 1996

Wednesday, November 13, 1996
with Nancy Mairs


It floats toward you:
a mother, a fish,
something without breath,
shiny, washed smooth
as the skin of a leech.

– Mary Swander, “In A Dream”

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Listen to Mary Swander’s 1996 reading for the Poetry Center of Chicago:

Watch Mary Swander read some of her poetry:

Aspen, oak, Kentucky-Coffee-Bean trees,
Dead leaves shaped like mouths falling
From the limbs. A silence descending
With the evening spreads across the
Arched backs of the rocks, their bellies

– Mary Swander, “Dutton’s Cave”

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Watch this interview with Mary Swander:

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Stryk, Lucien 1979; 1995

Friday, February 16, 1979
with John Knoepfle
Two Midwest Poets
February, 1995
with Roger Mitchell


The casket under the rose
in the funeral paror is not
where you live, my mother.

– Lucien Stryk, “Rooms”

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Listen to Lucien Stryk’s 1995 reading for the Poetry Center of Chicago:

Hungry-eyed fogies,
gargoyles in full cry
above the ruck and tumble

– Lucien Stryk, “Gargoyles”

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Vintage poster of Two Midwest Poets: John Knoepfle and Lucien Stryk reading at the Poetry Center of Chicago.

Vintage poster of Two Midwest Poets: John Knoepfle and Lucien Stryk reading at the Poetry Center of Chicago.

More info on Lucien Stryk ⇒

Stern, Gerald 1999

Wednesday, October 20, 1999

gerald stern

This time of year I kneel on my jacket. The ice
is almost solid. The groaning has ended. There is
an inch of fresh snow. A bush has turned to glass.

– Gerald Stern, “Did I Say”

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Read this interview with Gerald Stern from The Rumpus:

The second day of Eastern Standard
there is such a sound of bird croaking
it must be either blue jay whelps
or stiff crows just barely able to gasp
after a night of rotten sleeping.

– Gerald Stern, “Light”

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Watch Gerald Stern read some of his poetry:

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