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About this poet

Dan Chiasson was born in Burlington, Vermont, on May 9, 1971. He received his BA at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he double majored in English and classics. He received his PhD in postwar American poetry at Harvard University.

Chiasson has authored four books of poetry: Bicentennial (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014); Where’s the Moon, There’s the Moon (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010); Natural History (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007); and The Afterlife of Objects (University of Chicago Press, 2002).

In her New York Times review of Bicentennial, Daisy Fried writes, “[Chiasson’s] poems are often beautiful, odd and quite moving. He seldom resorts to lilting cadences or glow-in-the-dark imagery to achieve this, and complicates any move toward traditional lyric warmth; his poetry is genially brainy, jokey, casually formal, sometimes essayistic and humorously oracular.”

A widely published literary critic, Chiasson was the poetry editor of The Paris Review and is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. In 2007, he published his critical work One Kind of Everything (University of Chicago Press).

He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and teaches at Wellesley College. He lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts.


Bibliography

Bicentennial (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014)
Where’s the Moon, There’s the Moon (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010)
Natural History (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007)
The Afterlife of Objects (University of Chicago Press, 2002)

Thread

Dan Chiasson, 1971

I lack the rigor of a lightning bolt,
the weight of an anchor. I am
frayed where it would be highly useful—
and this I feel perpetually—to make a point.
 
I think if I can concentrate I might turn sharp.
Only, I don't know how to concentrate—
I know only the look of someone concentrating,
indistinguishable from nearsightedness.

It is hard for you to be near me,
my silly intensity shuffling
all the insignia of interiority.
Knowing me never made anyone a needle.

From Where's the Moon, There's the Moon by Dan Chiasson. Copyright © 2010 by Dan Chiasson. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf.

From Where's the Moon, There's the Moon by Dan Chiasson. Copyright © 2010 by Dan Chiasson. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf.

Dan Chiasson

Dan Chiasson

Dan Chiasson was born in Burlington, Vermont, on May 9, 1971. He received his BA at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he double majored in English and classics. He received his PhD in postwar American poetry at Harvard University.

Chiasson has authored four books of poetry: Bicentennial (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014); Where’s the Moon, There’s the Moon (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010); Natural History (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007); and The Afterlife of Objects (University of Chicago Press, 2002).

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Snow up to our waists and coming down still.
There was a field here once, when we began.
We marked the end zones and set up the goals.

Now nobody can even move, much less tackle.
I am Ganymede fleeing on a temple frieze.
We stand around like lovesick Neanderthals.

We’re Pompeian before Pompeii was hot.
We have
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