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About this poet

Julie Carr was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She attended Barnard College, and though interested in becoming a writer, she focused on dance. After graduating with a B.A. in 1988, she danced for ten years in New York with local companies and choreographers. In 1995, she went to New York University for an M.F.A. in poetry, and, a year later, with the birth of her first child, poetry became her main focus. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006.

Her first collection of poetry, Mead: An Epithalamion (University of Georgia Press, 2004) was selected by Cole Swensen for the University of Georgia Contemporary Poetry Prize. Her other collections include Sarah — of Fragments and Lines (Coffee House Press, 2010), a National Poetry Series winner; 100 Notes on Violence (Ahsahta Press, 2010), selected by Rae Armantrout for the 2009 Sawtooth Poetry Prize; and Equivocal (Alice James Books, 2007). Her study of Victorian poetry and poetics is forthcoming from Dalkey Archive.

Carr is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is the co-publisher, alongside her husband, Tim Roberts, of Counterpath Press. She lives in Denver, Colorado and has three children.

Lines of Refusal

Julie Carr
Nothing here, just the sound of the heat, the sound of the cars,
      nothing, nothing

Without failure, no ethics for one who from the very start would be an
      exact coincidence with himself

To the oldest son a scythe, to the second a cock, to the third a cat

Sweet unrest

Avoid rivers, strivers, and voyeurs

I am not afraid to sound

Treasury is a boring word, whereas treasure is an exciting word

Not gather, not tether, no tie

The young brother came to a town that was completely hung with
      black crepe

Wrote his autobiography in exactly thirty-seven words

No friend, no grammar, no end

Later, he too will become an imposing statue

Crawled into a crawl space and pulled shut the door

No wish, no fission, no sign

The hurrying across the avenue

Snow and so on

A young red fox and so on

Face or screen or book and so on

"Lines of Refusal," is from Sarah — of Fragments and Lines, © 2010 by Julie Carr. Used with permission of Coffee House Press.

Julie Carr

Julie Carr

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Julie Carr was selected by Cole Swensen for the University of Georgia Contemporary Poetry Prize for her debut collection Mead: An Epithalamion

by this poet


First: The blinding of the citizens

Second: The common plague of worms

(like lute strings, they must be plucked and the wounds spread with fresh butter)


This amorousness


Old woman cried and was fed her peas—

a worm in mud finding its way around my roots—

or deeply asleep and thus
So we shoveled it. Climbed over it. When a boy's loved 
he is loved. We kissed him at the countdown

then we went to bed. 
Then I woke and on the screen 

an executioner 
whose wife for him 

was worried. Both on and off the screen

there was still a lot of snow. I went out and stuck my hand in it, 
felt around