poem index

poet

David Wojahn

David Wojahn

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on August 22, 1953, David Wojahn was educated at the University of Minnesota and the University of Arizona.

His collections of poetry include Icehouse Lights, chosen by Richard Hugo as a winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize in 1982; Glassworks (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1987); Mystery Train (1990); Late Empire (1994); The Falling Hour (1997) and Spirit Cabinet (2002). Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982-2004 (2006), was a named finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and was the winner of the O.B. Hardison Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library. Wojahn's most recent collection World Tree (2011) was the recipient of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

Of Wojahn's winning book, Linda Gregerson said, "David Wojahn's World Tree is a book of consummate vision and artistry. Exquisitely cadenced, politically astute, large of heart, and keen of mind, these are poems of extraordinary moral penetration. They are also a joy to read: David Wojahn is working at the height of his powers."

Wojahn is also the author of a collection of essays on contemporary poetry, Strange Good Fortune (University of Arkansas Press, 2001), editor (with Jack Myers) of A Profile of 20th Century American Poetry (Southern Illinois University Press, 1991), and editor of two posthumous collections of Lynda Hull's poetry, The Only World (HarperCollins, 1995) and Collected Poems (Graywolf, 2006).

His awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Virginia, Illinois, and Indiana Councils for the Arts, and an Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholarship.

He is presently professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, and is also a member of the program faculty of the MFA in Writing Program of Vermont College of the Fine Arts.

by this poet

poem
From euphoria at the blossom's destruction

                   *

in time-lapse, save us. We quicken & hiss like serpents,

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our tongues flick us forward. We are studies of peritonitis

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at the U.S. Forensic Death Farm in Tennessee. From the stunned
poem

Coming always from below, blade wail & its pungency

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laddering up toward my childhood room, my nostrils

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sick-sweet with it. Below he worked his grave machines,

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tintinnabulous their whirr & snarl.

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His face in

poem
On the Forty-Ninth Birthday of "The Day Lady Died"
It is 3:00 in the torpid New South, three days past Bastille Day & yes
        this is the form you fashioned,
isn't it? Exact & fast & haunted as the opening chords of "Sweet Jane"
        (Mott the Hoople version),