Louisiana

Established in 1942, the state poet laureate position in Louisiana is currently held by Ava Leavell Haymon. Haymon is the author of four poetry collections, including Eldest Daughter, published by Louisiana State University Press in 2013. She has received the Louisiana Literature Prize for poetry, the L. E. Phillabaum Poetry Award, and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. She is a teacher and directs a summer retreat center for writers and artists.

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Poetry in Louisiana
Louisiana poet laureate

Ava Leavell Haymon

Ava Leavell Haymon is the author of Eldest Daughter (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).

poems

poem
Talking about New Orleans
About deforestation & the flood of vodun paraphernalia
the Congo line losing its Congo
the funeral bands losing their funding
the killer winds humming intertribal warfare hums into
two storm-surges
touching down tonguing the ground
three thousand times in a circle of grief
four
poem
The long, gray moss that softly swings
   In solemn grandeur from the trees,
   Like mournful funeral draperies,--
A brown-winged bird that never sings.

A shallow, stagnant, inland sea,
   Where rank swamp grasses wave, and where
   A deadliness lurks in the air,--
A sere leaf falling silently.

The death-like
poem
I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
     flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids
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