how many / times must I be broken and reassembled!
The air was a season they had bought…
My mind / Is like the harp strings, with a breeze blowing always / And no rest in sight.
Let us eat nothing but darkness / refuse our stale orbit / and walk only in sleep
The eye leans out to those white wings / Molded in flight like waxen things / To slender stems.
the city’s not so big, the / hills surround it.
In the night I strike a match, / one little glory, a flame / the world surrounds
Leaving Mother Waiting for Father The evening went on; I got very old. She kept telling me it didn’t matter. The real man would come back soon. We waited. We had alarms fixed, vases of white and purple flowers ready to thrust on him should he. We had to sell the place in a hurry; walked downtown holding hands. She had a yard of blue material in her pocket: I remember that so well! She fell asleep and a smile began to blister her old mouth. I propped her against an old hotel and left without any noise. — James Tate (1943-2015) was the author of more than twenty collections of poetry, including the Pulitzer-Prize winning Selected Poems. His Dome of the Hidden Pavilion will be published in August 2015 by Ecco Press. — “Leaving Mother Waiting for Father” was published in the Summer 1968 issue of Poetry Northwest, and appeared in The Oblivion Ha-Ha. — photo credit: Peace Lily BW | (license)
Periodically, we’ll take a tour of the Poetry Northwest archives, spotlighting vital poems and writers from the magazine’s fifty-plus year history. Previous entries in the series can be found here. This edition features early work from the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Stephen Dunn, a frequent contributor to the magazine during the seventies, eighties and beyond. Here are five poems as they originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, with the poet’s reflection on what these pieces mean to him now. Before I begin to say anything about these poems that appeared in Poetry Northwest many years ago, a few dating back to 1969, I want to thank David Wagoner for recognizing a quality in them worthy of publication. He was the first editor of an important magazine to regularly publish my work, and therefore helped develop in me a confidence that I might have a little something on which to build. It may not be possible, but I’m going to try to look at these poems as if they were written by someone else. “Affirmation” is amazingly …
Editor’s note: Every few months, we’ll take a tour of the archives, highlighting poems and writers from Poetry Northwest‘s fifty-plus year history. The first in the series featured poet and essayist Albert Goldbarth. This, the second, spotlights early work by the poet and critic Susan Stewart. David Wagoner, editor of Poetry Northwest for some 35 years, was well-known for publishing new and younger writers beside those more established—a tradition editor Kevin Craft has carried forward. For Mr. Wagoner, one of those young writers was Susan Stewart, whose work when it appeared in the magazine had an immediate impact, winning several prizes awarded by the magazine at the time. Here are three of those poems as they originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, with the poet’s own reflection on what these pieces mean to her now. — My first response to these lyrics is a feeling of deep retrospective gratitude to David Wagoner for publishing them and sending encouragement. Although I had admired his poems and had been reading Poetry Northwest since my college years, David Wagoner …