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About this poet

Beth Ann Fennelly is the author of the poetry collections Unmentionables (W. W. Norton, 2008), Tender Hooks (W. W. Norton, 2004), and Open House (Zoo Press, 2002), winner of the 2001 Kenyon Review Prize, as well as two books of nonfiction. Her honors include poetry grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, and State of Illinois Council, among others. She teaches at the University of Mississippi and lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

The Kudzu Chronicles - Oxford, Mississippi [excerpt]

Beth Ann Fennelly

1.
Kudzu sallies into the gully
like a man pulling up a chair 
where a woman was happily dining alone.   
Kudzu sees a field of cotton,
wants to be its better half.
Pities the red clay, leaps across 
the color wheel to tourniquet.  
Sees every glass half full,
pours itself in.  Then over the brim.
Scribbles in every margin 
with its green highlighter.  Is begging 
to be measured.  Is pleased 
to make acquaintance with
your garden, which it is pleased to name
Place Where I Am Not.
Yet.  Breeds its own welcome mat.

2.
Why fret 
if all it wants
is to lay one heart—
shaped palm
on your sleeping back?   

Why fright 
when the ice 
machine dumps its 
armload of diamonds?

From Unmentionables by Beth Ann Fennelly. Copyright © 2008 by Beth Ann Fennelly. Reprinted by permission of W.W. Norton. All rights reserved.

From Unmentionables by Beth Ann Fennelly. Copyright © 2008 by Beth Ann Fennelly. Reprinted by permission of W.W. Norton. All rights reserved.

Beth Ann Fennelly

Beth Ann Fennelly is the author of the poetry collections Unmentionables (W. W. Norton, 2008), Tender Hooks (W. W. Norton, 2004), and Open House (Zoo Press, 2002), as well as two books of nonfiction.

by this poet

poem
Though we vacationed in a castle, though I 
rode you hard one morning to the hum
of bees that buggered lavender, and later
we shared gelato by a spotlit dome
where pigeons looped like coins from a parade--
we weren’t transported back to newlyweds.
We only had a week, between new jobs, 
we both were pinched with