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About this poet

Born in Chillicothe, Ohio in 1966, Juliana Spahr recieved a BA from Bard College and PhD from SUNY Buffalo.

She is the author of Well Then There Now (Black Sparrow Press, 2011); This Connection of Everyone with Lungs (University of California Press, 2005); Fuck You—Aloha—I Love You (Wesleyan University Press, 2001); and Response (Sun & Moon Press, 1996), winner of the National Poetry Series Award.

Spahr is also the author of Everybody's Autonomy: Connective Reading and Collective Identity (University of Alabama Press, 2001).

As editor, she has published a number of critical works, including A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays about the Continued Usefulness of Crotchless-pants-and-a-machine-gun Feminism (Chain Links, 2011), co-edited with Stephanie Young; Poetry and Pedagogy: the Challenge of the Contemporary (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2006), co-edited with Joan Retallack; and American Women Poets in the Twenty-first Century (Wesleyan University Press, 2002), co-edited with Claudia Rankine. From 1993 to 2003, Spahr co-edited the arts journal Chain, which she co-founded with Jena Osman.

About Spahr's work, the poet Anne Waldman has said, "By listing, by naming, the atrocities—the harrowing stats, the scary particulars—in our world-at-endless-war, we might at least exert control over our sanity and extend our mind and compassion to others. It is a connected universe as Spahr so forecfully reminds us."

In 2009, she recieved the Hardison Poetry Prize awarded by the Folger Shakespeare Library.

She currently lives in Berkeley, California.

December 2, 2002

Juliana Spahr
As it happens every night, beloveds, while we turned in the night
sleeping uneasily the world went on without us.

We live in our own time zone and there are only a small million of
us in this time zone and the world as a result has a tendency to
begin and end without us.

While we turned sleeping uneasily at least ten were injured in a 
bomb blast in Bombay and four killed in Palestine.

While we turned sleeping uneasily a warehouse of food aid was 
destroyed, stocks on upbeat sales soared, Australia threatened first
strikes, there was heavy gunfire in the city of Man, the Belarus
ambassador to Japan went missing, a cruise ship caught fire, on yet
another cruise ship many got sick, and the pope made a statement
against xenophobia.

While we turned sleeping uneasily perhaps J Lo gave Ben a 
prenuptial demand for sex four times a week.

While we turned sleeping uneasily Liam Gallagher brawled and
irate fans complained that "Popstars: The Rivals" was fixed.

While we turned sleeping uneasily the Supreme Court agreed to 
hear the case of whether university admissions may favor racial 
minorities.

While we turned sleeping uneasily poachers caught sturgeon in the 
reed-filled Caspian, which shelters boar and wolves, and some of
the residents on the space shuttle planned a return flight to the US.

Beloveds, our world is small and isolated.

We live our lives in six hundred square feet about a quarter mile 
from the shore on land that is seven hundred square miles and five
thousand miles from the nearest land mass.

Despite our isolation, there is no escape from the news of how
many days are left in the Iraq inspections.

The news poll for today was should we invade Iraq now or should
we wait until the inspections are complete and we tried to laugh
together at this question but our laughter was uneasy and we just
decided to turn off the television that arrives to us from those 
other time zones.

Beloveds, we do not know how to live our lives with any agency 
outside of our bed.

It makes me angry that how we live in our bed—full of connected
loving and full of isolated sleep and dreaming also—has no
relevance to the rest of the world.

How can the power of our combination of intimacy and isolation
have so little power outside the space of our bed?

Beloveds, the shuttle is set to return home and out the window of 
the shuttle one can see the earth.

"How massive the earth is; how minute the atmosphere," one of
the astronauts notes.

Beloveds, what do we do but keep breathing as best we can this
minute atmosphere?

Copyright © 2005 by Juliana Spahr. From This Connection of Everyone with Lungs: Poems. Reprinted with permission of the University of California Press.

Juliana Spahr

Born in Ohio in 1966, poet, critic, and editor Juliana Spahr is the author, most recently, of Well Then There Now