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About this poet

Born in Berwyn, IL on January 27, 1943 after growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Sarah Getty graduated from Stanford University, and has a PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a Poet in the Schools, has led creative writing workshops for the Bedford Center for the Arts and the Bedford Free Public Library, and teaches the writing of poetry and fiction in her living room.

Sarah’s second book of poems, Bring Me Her Heart (Higganum Hill Books, 2006), was released to critical acclaim. Her first collection, The Land of Milk and Honey (University of South Carolina Press, 2002), won a Cambridge Poetry Award in 2002.

In 2004, she also received the New England Poetry Club’s Barbara Bradley Award. Her poem “Ciphers” has been set to music by Adam Grossman. Anthologies carrying Sarah’s work include Birds in the Hand, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004). In July, 2006 she lead a poetry workshop as Poet-in-Residence at the Villa Vergiliana near Naples, Italy.

She lives in Bedford, Massachusetts.

That Woman

Sarah Getty, 1943
Look! A flash of orange along the river's edge--
"oriole!" comes to your lips like instinct, then
it's vanished--lost in the foliage,

in all your head holds, getting on with the day.  
But not gone for good. There is that woman    	
walks unseen beside you with her apron
  
pockets full.  Days later, or years, when you least    
seem to need it--reading Frost on the subway,    
singing over a candled cake--she'll reach

into a pocket and hand you this intact    
moment--the river, the orange streak parting 
the willow, and the "oriole!" that leapt

to your lips.  Unnoticed, steadfast, she gathers      
all this jumble, sorts it, hands it back like 
prizes from Crackerjack.  She is your mother,

who first said, "Look! a robin!" and pointed,   
and there was a robin, because her own
mother had said to her, "Look!" and pointed, 

and so on, back to the beginning: the mother, 
the child, and the world.  The damp bottom 
on one arm and pointing with the other: 
							
the peach tree, the small rocks in the shallows,    
the moon and the man in the moon.  So you keep on, 
seeing, forgetting, faithfully followed;   

and you yourself, unwitting, gaining weight,
have thinned to invisibility, become
that follower.  Even now, your daughter

doesn't see you at her elbow as she walks
the beach.  There! a gull dips to the Pacific,
and she points and says to the baby, "Look!"

From The Land of Milk and Honey, by Sarah Getty, published by the University of South Carolina Press, 1996. Copyright © 1996 by Sarah Getty. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Sarah Getty

Sarah Getty

The publication of her second collection of poems brought Sarah Getty much critical praise and nominations for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award

by this poet

poem
sits with a small smile, watching  
two speckled frogs or lizards run right 
and left, apart, together 

on long legs bendable as rubber. 
He doesn't bend down, looking,  
or sway to keep up with their scuffles,   

but sits immobile, his eyes
icon-sized but lidded, following 
those mottled creatures.  Bow-tied
poem
Old eyes, but wiser, says the Greek.  You lose sight of guide-
	lines: I before E, Every Good Boy
	Does Fine, Insert Tab A in Slot B.
Things arrive, at this late date, unlabelled.  All that book-

	learning a waste now--even your mate,
at close range, blurs, becomes a surface with a taste.  
Unlettered, you take
poem
A round white troll with a black, greasy  
heart shuddered and hummed "Diogenes,  
Diogenes," while it sloshed the wash.  
It stayed in the basement, a cave-dank
place I could only like on Mondays,
helping mother.  My job was stirring
the rinse.  The troll hummed.  Its wringer stuck
out each piece of laundry