poem index

About this poet

In 1940, Pattiann Rogers was born in Joplin, Missouri. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 1961. She received her MA from the University of Houston in 1981.

She has published numerous books of poetry, including Holy Heathen Rhapdosy (Penguin, 2013); Wayfare (Penguin, 2008); Generations (2004); Song of the World Becoming: New and Collected Poems, 1981-2001 (2001); Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems (1994); which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; and Eating Bread and Honey (1997).

She has been the recipient of two NEA grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lannan Poetry Fellowship. Her poems have won several prizes, including the Tietjens Prize and the Hokin Prize from Poetry, the Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest, the Strousse Award twice from Prairie Schooner, three book awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, and four Pushcart Prizes.

She has been a visiting writer at the University of Texas, the University of Montana, and the University of Arkansas, and a member of the faculty of Vermont College and the low residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Pacific University. The mother of two grown sons, Rogers lives with her husband, a retired geophysicist, in Colorado.




Bibliography

Poetry

Holy Heathen Rhapdosy (Penguin, 2013)
Wayfare (Penguin, 2008)
Generations (Penguin, 2004)
Song of the World Becoming: New and Collected Poems, 1981–2001 (Milkweed Editions, 2001)
A Covenant of Seasons (Hudson Hills Press, 1998)
Eating Bread and Honey(Milkweed Editions, 1997)
Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems (Milkweed Editions, 1994)
Geocentric (Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1993)
Splitting and Binding (Wesleyan University Press, 1989)
Legendary Performance (Ion Books, 1987)
The Tattooed Lady in the Garden (Wesleyan University Press, 1986)
The Expectations of Light (Princeton University Press, 1981)


Prose

The Grand Array: Writing on Nature, Science, and Spirit (Trinity University Press, 2010)
The Dream of the Marsh Wren: Writing as Reciprocal Creation (Milkweed Editions, 1999)

Counting What the Cactus Contains

Pattiann Rogers, 1940
Elf owl, cactus wren, fruit flies incubating
In the only womb they'll ever recognize.
Shadow for the sand rat, spines
And barbary ribs clenched with green wax.
Seven thousand thorns, each a water slide,
A wooden tongue licking the air dry.

Inside, early morning mist captured intact,
The taste of drizzle sucked
And sunsplit. Whistle
Of the red-tailed hawk at midnight, rush
Of the leaf-nosed bat, the soft slip
Of fog easing through sand held in tandem.

Counting, the vertigo of its attitudes
Across the evening; in the wood of its latticed bones--
The eye sockets of every saint of thirst;
In the gullet of each night-blooming flower--the crucifix
Of the arid.

In its core, a monastery of cells, a brotherhood
Of electrons, a column of expanding darkness
Where matter migrates and sparks whorl,
And travel has no direction, where distance 
Bends backward over itself and the ascension
Of Venus, the stability of Polaris, are crucial.

The cactus, containing
Whatever can be said to be there,
Plus the measurable tremble of its association
With all those who have been counting.

From Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems, published by Milkweed Editions, 1994. Copyright © 1994 by Pattiann Rogers. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Pattiann Rogers

Pattiann Rogers

Born in 1940, Pattiann Rogers is the author of numerous collections of poetry

by this poet

poem

I remember you. You’re the one
who lifted your ancient bones
of fossil rock, pulled yourself free
of the strata like a plaster figure
rising from its own mold, became
flesh and feather, took wing,
arrested the sky.

You’re the one who, though marble,
floated as beautifully as

poem
This is about no rain in particular,
just any rain, rain sounding on the roof,
any roof, slate or wood, tin or clay
or thatch, any rain among any trees,
rain in soft, soundless accumulation,
gathering rather than falling on the fir
of juniper and cedar, on a lace-community
of cobwebs, rain clicking off the rigid
poem

The slender checkered beetle, pale
earth brown, sallies forth from among 
the bark canals of the oak, the eaten mar 
of the woody gall left dying.  Her spiny 
yellow hairs sparkle in the summer sun.

Lacewings, locust, and laurel loosen
cocoon, carapace, and bud, shimmy