Mother of Stone, Cybele,
Stone Mother, keep me low,
Resigned, involved, confusable
As to the novice eye the vine
With wild thyme and caper, close
To your chemic soil—
Ash, tuff, and pumice—twined
In on itself to stand
Up under summer wind
And to condense the sure, sheer
In 1941, Stephen Yenser was born in Wichita, Kansas.
He has also published a collection of essays, A Boundless Field: American Poetry at Large (University of Michigan Press, 2002), as well as The Consuming Myth: The Work of James Merrill (1987) and Circle to Circle: The Poetry of Robert Lowell (1975). With J. D. McClatchy, he edited James Merrill's Collected Poems (2002), Collected Novels and Plays of James Merrill (2003), and The Changing Light at Sandover (Knopf, 2006).
About Yenser's work, the poet Alan Williamson has said, "Stephen Yenser combines two qualities rarely found together: an extraordinary gift for verbal play and a bedrock seriousness about the emotional aims of poetry. Consequently he can do things almost no one else can: a poem reproducing the modulations of music; a poem in a dead poet's style that becomes uniquely his own, through its meditation on intersubjectivity and immortality."
His honors include a "Discovery"/The Nation Award, two Fulbright teaching fellowships, and an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award in Poetry, a Pushcart Prize, and the B. F. Connors Prize for Poetry from the Paris Review.
He is a professor of English and director of creative writing at the University of California in Los Angeles.