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Gordon, Mary


He hated the way his mother piled the laundry. The way she held the clothes, as if it didn’t matter. And he knew what she would say if he said anything, though he would never say it.

– Mary Gordon, “Temporary Shelter”

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Read Mary Gordon’s short story, “The Deacon,” in The Atlantic Magazine:

The Deacon

If anyone had asked her, Sister Joan would have said that her daily half hour of prayer and meditation provided the most satisfying consolation she could imagine for a world that was random and violent and endlessly inventive in its cruelty toward the weak

Listen to Mary Gordon read from “Circling My Mother” on NPR:

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Forché, Carolyn


Swallows carve lake wind,
trailers lined up, fish tins.
The fires of a thousand small camps
spilled on a hillside.

– Carolyn Forché, “Skin Canoes”

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Read this interview with Carolyn Forché from Under Warm A Green Linden:


The bleached wood massed in bone piles,
we pulled it from dark beach and built
fire in a fenced clearing.
The posts’ blunt stubs sank down,
they circled and were roofed by milled
lumber dragged at one time to the coast.
We slept there.

– Carolyn Forché, “Kalaloch”

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Watch Carolyn Forché discuss the poetry of witness with Roland Flint for the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society:

Carolyn Forché talks about the poetry of witness

Carolyn Forché is best known for The Country Between Us (1981), the stunning poems from her work in El Salvador for Amnesty International. In this talk with Roland Flint, Forché describes Against Forgetting, the 800-page anthology she published in 1993.

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Dickey, James

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Coming into Ellijay on the green
Idling freeway of the broad river
From the hill farms and pine woods,
We saw first the little stores
That backed down the red clay banks,
The blue flash of bottleglass
And the rippled tin heat-haze of sheds

– James Dickey, “Below Ellijay”

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Read this interview with James Dickey from the Paris Review:

The Art of Poetry No. 20

Photograph by Christopher Dicky In 1960, when he was thirty-seven-an age at which most men have abandoned pretenses at having creative gifts-James Dickey published his first book of poetry, Into the Stone, a Scribner’s Poets of Today volume that he shared wit…

The sea here used to look
As if many convicts had built it,
Standing deep in their ankle chains,
Ankle-deep in the water, to smite
The land and break it down to salt.
I was in this bog as a child

– James Dickey, “At Darien Bridge”

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Watch James Dickey read his poem, “Cherrylog Road,” in 1980:

James Dickey reads “Cherrylog Road,” c. 1980

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Dove, Rita 2009

Spring 2009


Every god is lonely, an exile
composed of parts: elk horn,
cloven hoof. Receptacle
for wishes, each god is empty
without us, penitent
raking our yards into windblown piles….

– Rita Dove, “The Breathing, The Endless News”

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Read this interview with Rita Dove from Modern American Poetry:


What did he do except lie
under a pear tree, wrapped in
a great cloak, and meditate
on the heavenly bodies?

– Rita Dove, “Banneker”

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Watch Rita Dove discuss the power of poetry with Bill Moyers:

Rita Dove on the Power of Poetry

Bill welcomes former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, who this very week received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama. Dove served two terms as Poet Laureate, the youngest and the first African American to be named to that prestigious position.

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