About this poet

Poet, critic, and translator G. E. Patterson grew up along the Mississippi River and was educated in the mid-South, the Midwest, the Northeast, and the western United States.

His collections of poetry include To and From (Ahsahta Press, 2008), and his first book, Tug (1999), won the Minnesota Book Award.

Patterson's awards include fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Cave Canem, the Djerassi Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

After living in the Northeast and on the West Coast, he now makes his home in Minnesota, where he teaches.

The Responsibility of Love

G. E. Patterson
Where you are now, the only lights are stars 
and oil lamps flaring on vine-covered porches.   
Where you are now, it must be midnight.  
No one has bothered to name all the roads 
that overlook the sea.  The freshened air 
smells of myrtle and white jasmine.  A church 
stands on the headland, and I hope it might 
keep one thought of me alive in your head.  

Autumn is here: warm days becoming cold.  
The trees drop more leaves, love, each time it rains.  
I eat my meals with the TV turned on, 
but softly so the neighbors won’t complain.  
The kilim is stained by the food I spilled 
the first day--and the second--you were gone. 

From Tug, published by Graywolf Press. Copyright © 1999. Used with permission.

From Tug, published by Graywolf Press. Copyright © 1999. Used with permission.

G. E. Patterson

G. E. Patterson

Poet, critic, and translator G. E. Patterson's collection Tug won the Minnesota Book Award