About this poet

Born in Berwyn, IL on January 27, 1943 after growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Sarah Getty graduated from Stanford University, and has a PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a Poet in the Schools, has led creative writing workshops for the Bedford Center for the Arts and the Bedford Free Public Library, and teaches the writing of poetry and fiction in her living room.

Sarah’s second book of poems, Bring Me Her Heart (Higganum Hill Books, 2006), was released to critical acclaim. Her first collection, The Land of Milk and Honey (University of South Carolina Press, 2002), won a Cambridge Poetry Award in 2002.

In 2004, she also received the New England Poetry Club’s Barbara Bradley Award. Her poem “Ciphers” has been set to music by Adam Grossman. Anthologies carrying Sarah’s work include Birds in the Hand, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004). In July, 2006 she lead a poetry workshop as Poet-in-Residence at the Villa Vergiliana near Naples, Italy.

She lives in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Channel 2: Horowitz Playing Mozart

Sarah Getty, 1943
sits with a small smile, watching  
two speckled frogs or lizards run right 
and left, apart, together 

on long legs bendable as rubber. 
He doesn't bend down, looking,  
or sway to keep up with their scuffles,   

but sits immobile, his eyes
icon-sized but lidded, following 
those mottled creatures.  Bow-tied,

sweater-vested, he could be a clerk  
at a counter, there to wrap
things up for us the old-fashioned way,

with brown paper and a string.
He is old, no doubting it; his lean 
head states the skull's theme clearly.  

Strict time has taught him patience, practice
this perfect stillness, amused,
a little, like Buddha, watching two  

lithe, spotted beasts (allegro) 
in their hopscotch hurry.  Now stealthy
(lento), now frantic, they ramble

and attack and he observes, as if  
to learn their motives--hunger?
fear? territorial contention?

They could be hoarding, like ants,
against the future, or this display
might be, in fact, a mating   

dance (as we, the viewers, are hoping
in our hearts).  They are not tame,
exactly, or exactly trapped--that

man is kindly, it strikes us,  
and would release them.  He is admiring,
it seems, the precision, worked

out in all this time--the way they fit  
their niche.  Just the parts they need
they have evolved: the long and recurved

reachers, the last joints padded   
hammer heads.  He glances now and then
at Previn, the beat-keeper.

"They will go on forever,"
he might be saying, "unless your stick
can make an end of it."  There--

the cut-off falls, the last chord
lingers in the strings.  The old man flings
them--winged?--up into the air,

a referee (that bow tie)
declaring both the winner, sending
them heavenward, letting go.

From The Land of Milk and Honey, by Sarah Getty, published by the University of South Carolina Press, 1996. Copyright © 1996 by Sarah Getty. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Sarah Getty

Sarah Getty

The publication of her second collection of poems brought Sarah Getty much critical praise and nominations for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award

by this poet

poem
A round white troll with a black, greasy  
heart shuddered and hummed "Diogenes,  
Diogenes," while it sloshed the wash.  
It stayed in the basement, a cave-dank
place I could only like on Mondays,
helping mother.  My job was stirring
the rinse.  The troll hummed.  Its wringer stuck
out each piece of laundry
poem
Old eyes, but wiser, says the Greek.  You lose sight of guide-
	lines: I before E, Every Good Boy
	Does Fine, Insert Tab A in Slot B.
Things arrive, at this late date, unlabelled.  All that book-

	learning a waste now--even your mate,
at close range, blurs, becomes a surface with a taste.  
Unlettered, you take
poem
The deer—neck not birch trunk, eyes
not leaf or shadow, comes clear
from nowhere at the eye's edge.
The woman's legs stop.  Her mind
lags, then flashes, "Deer at edge
of the woods."  The deer's eyes, black
and fragile, stare back and stop

her breathing.  The breeze drops.  Light
shines every leaf.  She enters