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About this poet

Born in 1967 and raised in New York City; Rebecca Wolff earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1993, and in 1997 founded the literary journal Fence.

She is the author of The King (W.W. Norton, 2009); Figment (W.W. Norton, 2004); and Manderley (2001), which was selected by Robert Pinsky for the 2000 National Poetry Series.

She lives in Athens, New York, with her husband and two children. She currently teaches classes for the New York State Writers Institute in Poetry and Creative Writing.

Eminent Victorians

Rebecca Wolff
Half a day is dead already--
a lady with a baby in the shady graveyard
promenade not quite the idea
but the first idea to be impressed
so firmly--Grace to be born

in the
bisected quadrangle
stones propped insensible
but all in relation
to the babe.

Babe what suckles
babe what grows comfortable with thieves in a fertile
bed of unsaid
slice of eponymous
grafted to the reef

Hold my hand
in the undergrowth
waist high at your leisure cheerful
child of melancholy and displeasure.
Soft in the lap you grow

hard at the breast--Oh
under- and aboveground we go
to relieve us. Camphor
and cambric by the hand not by halves,
one turn more

will take us back to where we rest.
Baby is not baby when she
wears her oblong
freshet
I will take her home to rest.

From Figment: Poems, by Rebecca Wolff, published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright © 2004 by Rebecca Wolff. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

From Figment: Poems, by Rebecca Wolff, published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright © 2004 by Rebecca Wolff. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Rebecca Wolff

Rebecca Wolff

The founder of the literary journal Fence, Rebecca Wolff's collection Manderley was selected for the 2000 National Poetry Series

by this poet

poem
I stopped by to see you but you were not home

marshland

the pure vision

my ancient lives all risen up and rising



shudder in my bed to come up against

a living religion; they get offended so easily;

blow up your hundred-foot Buddha

no problem. Entire mountainside.



Presumably it's an improvement

on
poem
I'd like a 
lidless 

Vicodin. 
Oblivion.

Countless 
sensation of him

leaving the room.
Come back soon.

It occurred to me
fait accompli.

Clinamen.
Phantom limb.

Black cat sleeping
(you used to be

next to me)
next to me

dreams our lost 
telepathy.
poem
Primarily

I am a mother.
When he was sick;

I engaged his imagination
with a book—

the perfect—I seized it; his
weakened defenses.

This is the way I have
filled his mind

egg and milk and butter and bread
all together—

that's a lot for a small child to take in.
Like Maisie

in the novel is a sieve.
What we