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  • CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN POETRY

    SIXTH EDITION

    Edited by A. Poulin, Jr.

    State University of New York,

    College at Brockport

    HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY BOSTON TORONTO Geneva, Illinois Palo Alto Princeton, New Jersey

  • Contents

    Contemporary American Poetry: A Chronology xxix Preface xxxi

    A. R. AMMONS Apologia Pro Vita Sua 3 He Held Radical Light 3 Working with Tools 4 The Unifying Principle 5 Cut the Grass 6 The City Limits 6 The Eternal City 7 White Dwarf 8 Distraction • 8 Breaking Out 9 Extrication 9 Volitions x 10 Chiseled Clouds 10 Loft 11

    JOHN ASHBERY Our Youth 13 "They Dream Only of America" 14 Leaving the Atocha Station 15 As You. Came from the Holy Land 17 Street Musicians 18 Paradoxes and Oxymorons 19 Posture of Unease 19 My Philosophy of Life 20

    MARVIN BELL They 23 White Clover 23 The Extermination of the Jews 24 from The Escape into You

    Homage to the Runner 25 To Dorothy 25 The Last Thing I Say .̂ 26 Drawn by' Stones, by Earth, by Things That Have Been in the

    Fire ( ' 26 Long Island 27 How He Grew Up 28

    ix

  • CONTENTS

    Ending with a Line from Lear 29 from The Book of the Dead Man

    (#1)1 . About the Dead Man 30 (#50) 1. About the Dead Man and the Cardboard Box 30

    JOHN BERRYMAN The Song of the Tortured Girl 33 from The Dream Songs

    1 [Huffy Henry] 4 [Filling her compact & delicious body] 8 [The weather was fine] 9 [Deprived of his enemy]

    13 [God bless Henry] „ 14 [Life, friends, is boring]

    29 [There sat down, once] 45 [He stared at ruin] 46 [I am, outside] 55 [Peter's not friendly]

    230 [There are voices] 384 [The marker slants]

    from Eleven Addresses to the Lord 1 [Master of Beauty]

    Henry's Understanding

    ELIZABETH BISHOP The Man-Moth TheFish The Armadillo North Haven In the Waiting Room One Art

    ROBERT BLY Surprised by Evening Waking from Sleep Poem in Three Parts Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter Watering the Horse Counting Small-Boned Bodies Looking into a Face The Hermit Looking into a Tide Pool Opening the Door of a Barn I Thought Was Empty on New

    Year's Eve

    33 34 34 35 35 36 37 37 38 38 39 39

    40 41

    43 44 46 47 48 51

    53 53 54 54 54 55

    55 55 56

    56

  • XI

    CONTENTS

    Insect Heads- 57 Passing an Orchard by Train . 57 Driving My Parents Horne at Christmas 57 For My Son Noah, Ter? Years Old 58 At Midocean 58 In Rainy September 58 Gratitude to Old Teachers 58 Poem for James Wright 59 Sitting Down to Dinner 60 The Beehive 60 Warning to the Reader 61

    GWENDOLYN BROOKS from A Street in Bronzeville

    the mother 63 a song in the front yard 64 of De Witt Williams on his way to Lincoln Cemetery 64

    The Lovers of the Poor 65 We Real Cool 67 An Aspect of Love, Alive in the Ice and Fire 68 To Don at Salaam 69 Telephone Conversations 69 To the Young Who Want to Die 70 To Black Women 70

    LUCILLE CLIFTON admonitions • 73 miss rosie 73 [if i stand in my window] 74 the lost baby poem 74 god's mood 75 [come home from the movies] 76 to a dark moses 76 cutting greens 76 [at last we killed the roaches] , 77 homage to my hips 77 [there is a girl inside] - 78 forgiving my father . 78 [here is another bone to pick with you] 79 the lost women x 79 from tree ofiife 80

    adam thinking eve thinking 80 lucifer understanding at last 80

  • • XII

    CONTENTS

    wishes for sons 81 poem to my uterus , 82 lumpectomy eve 82 telling our stories 83 leaving fox 83

    ROBERT CREELEY The Business 85 I Know a Man 85 A Form of Women 86 A Wicker Basket 87 The Flower 88 The Rain 88 The Memory 89 The Rescue 89 The Language 90 The Window 91 On Vacation 92 Mother's Voice 92 First Love 93

    JAMES DICKEY The Heaven of Animals 95 The Performance 96 The Hospital Window 97 In. the Mountain Tent 99 Sled Burial, Dream Ceremony 100 The Sheep Child 101 Adultery , ~ 103 Deer Among Cattle 104 False Youth: Autumn: Clothes of the Age 104

    RITA DOVE Nexus 107 "Teach Us to Number Our Days" 107 Adolescence — III - 108 Then Came Flowers, 108 In the Bulrush 109 A Father Out Walking on the Lawn 109' from Thomas and Beulah

    Variation on Pain 110 Compendium 111 Daystar 111 Sunday Greens 112

    Mississippi 113

  • X1U

    CONTENTS

    Silos N " 114 The Breathing, the Endless News 114 After Reading Mickey in the Night Kitchen for the Third Time

    Before Bed "~~ " " 114 The Island Women of Paris 115

    ALAN DUGAN Love Song: I and Thou 117 Tribute to Kafka for Someone Taken 118 General Prothalamion for Wartimes 118 To a Red-Headed1 Do-Good Waitress . 119 For Masturbation 120 Fabrication of Ancestors 120 Poem [What's the Balm] 121 Elegy for a Puritan Conscience 122 Prayer (God I need a job) 122 On Leaving Town 123 On Finding the Tree of Life 123 Last Statement for a Last Oracle 124 Closing Time at the Second Avenue Deli 124

    ROBERT DUNCAN Poetry, A Natural Thing 127 Ingmar Bergman's Seventh Seal 128 Such Is the Sickness of Many a Good Thing 129 My Mother Would Be a Falconress 130 The Torso Passages 18 ' 132 from Dante Etudes 134

    The Work 134

    LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI [Constantly risking absurdity] 137 [Sometime during eternity] 138 [The pennycandystore beyond the El] 139 Monet's Lilies Shuddering 140 Making Love in Poetry 141 Ascending over Ohio- 141 from The Canticle of feck Kerouac

    2 [There is a garden in the memory of America] 142 6 [And then Ti-Jehn with Joual tongue] 143

    Uses of Poetry ""'--, 144

    ISABELLA GARDNER Summers Ago 147 Lines to a Seagreen Lover 147

  • XIV

    CONTENTS

    In the Museum The Widow's Yard _ The Milkman Letter from Slough Pond Part of the Darkness On Looking in the Looking Glass The Accomplices That Was Then This Neighborhood

    ALLEN GINSBERG Howl America Love Poem on Theme by Whitman Psalm III Wales Visitation On Neal's Ashes Fourth Floor, Dawn, Up All Night Writing Letters Ode to Failure

    LOUISE GLUCK Cottonmouth Country Love Poem Messengers Thanksgiving The Drowned Children The Mirror Mock Orange Hyacinth Celestial Music The Untrustworthy Speaker The Red Poppy The White Lilies

    DONALD HALL Christmas Eve in Whitneyville Maple Syrup Kicking the Leaves Ox Cart Man from The Day I Was Older

    The Pond The Day The Cup

    148 148 149 150 150 152 153 153 155

    157 164 166 167 168 170 170 171

    173 173 173 174 174 175 175 176 178 179 180 180

    183 184 186 189

    190 191 191

  • XV

    CONTENTS

    When the Young Husband Elbows

    MICHAEL S. HARPER New Season Black Study Here Where Coltrane Is The Borning Room Song: / Want a Witness Nightmare Begins Responsibility Grandfather Healing Song Motel Room The Ghost of Soul-making

    ROBERT HASS Letter Bookbuying in the Tenderloin Meditation at Lagunitas The Pure Ones Picking Blackberries with a Friend Who Has Been Reading

    Jacques Lacan Late Spring A Story About the Body Privilege of Being from Dragonflies Mating

    5 [This morning in the early sun] Happiness Our Lady of the Snows

    ROBERT HAYDEN Frederick Douglass ' "From the Corpse Woodpiles, from the Ashes" Those Winter Sundays Night, Death, Mississippi Monet's "Waterlilies" Soledad The Night-Blooming Cereus The Prisoners > The Tattooed Man

    LINDA HOGAN Red Clay The Truth' Is Heartland

    191 192

    195 . 195

    196 197 197 198 199 200 201 202

    205 206 207 207

    208 209 210 210

    211 212 213

    215 215 216 216 218 218 219 221 222

    225 225 227

  • XVI

    CONTENTS

    To Light Potatoes Our Houses The Young Boys Two of Hearts Skin Dreaming Two Great Measures

    RICHARD HUGO Death of the Kapowsin Tavern G.I. Graves in Tuscany Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg Montgomery Hollow Montana Ranch Abandoned The House on 15th S.W. Farmer, Dying The Hilltop Here, but Unable to Answer Distances

    DAVID IGNATOW Communion Sunday at the State Hospital My Place Epitaph The Bagel Rescue the Dead Against the Evidence First Coffin Poem Waiting Inside from Shadowingjhe Ground

    1 [The world is so difficult to give up] 7 [This is the solution: to be happy with slaughter] 9 [Old men spend their days farting]

    25 [Here I am] ' 33 [White-haired, tl walk in on my parents] 38 [I would be buried beside my parents] 42 [We were an aging couple] \ 43 [I' don't know which to mourn] •- 5 5 [How lonely it is to live] 59 [I just know I am growing near to death] 66 [Ignatow is dying] 67 [I live with my contradictions]

    227 228 229 229 230 231 232 233

    235 235 236 238 238 239 240 241 242 243

    245 245 246 247 247 248 248 249 250

    251 251 251 251 252 252 252 253 253 253 254 254

  • xvu

    CONTENTS

    It's a Sick Life 254 Wherever 255 Myself _ 255

    RANDALL JARRELL The Black Swan 257 To the New World 257 90 North 259 The Snow-Leopard 260 The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner 261 Eighth Air Force 261 A Camp in the Prussian Forest 262 The Woman at the Washington Zoo 263 The Player Piano 264 Women on a Bus 265

    DONALD JUSTICE Landscape with Little Figures 267 Counting the Mad 267 Variations for Two Pianos 268 Bus Stop 268 Men at Forty 269 The Missing Person 270 Hands 271 Poem [This poem is not addressed to you] 272 Variations on a Text by Vallejo 273 Sonatina in Yellow 274 Presences 275 Children Walking Home from School Through Good

    Neighborhood 275 Dance Lessons"bf the Thirties 276 Pantoum of the Great Depression 276

    GALWAY KINNELL First Song 279: On Frozen Fields 279 Vapor Trail Reflected in the Frog Pond 280 The Bear ' 281 from The Book of Nightmares

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