This elephant keeper shoved a hose up The ass of an elephant every day. He Told a man. The man said, So why don't You quit? And the keeper said, You have To understand: elephant bowels are fragile, You only spray a little and shit flies All over. . . . And the man said, I
Ralph Burns was born in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1949, and received an MFA from the University of Montana. He has published six books of poems: Ghost Notes (Oberlin College Press, 2001), winner of the Field Poetry Prize; Swamp Candles (1996); Mozart's Starling (1990); Any Given Day (1985); Windy Tuesday Nights (1984); and US (1983).
About his work, the poet Mark Jarman has said, "If Albert Camus wanted to know what was American in our poetry right now, what showed the breadth of our language and the honesty of its utterance, what was the best of American langue et parole, I'd show him Ralph Burns's poems."
Burns has published in many magazines including The Atlantic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and Field. He has won a number of awards including the Iowa Poetry Prize, the Great Lakes Colleges Award for the Best First Book in Poetry, and received two fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts.
He edited Crazyhorse and is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.