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About this poet

Poet Sally Van Doren was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a graduate of Phillips Academy and Princeton University and received an MFA from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Van Doren was awarded the 2007 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for her first collection of poems, Sex at Noon Taxes, selected by August Kleinzahler, which was published in spring of 2008 by Louisiana State University Press. She is also the author of Promise (LSU Press, 2017), which features one of her drawings on the cover, and Possessive (LSU Press, 2012).

About her work, Kleinzahler wrote: "There are no dead moments, no fill: even the conjunctions, prepositions and assorted connectives carry a charge. The language is alive. The movement of language is alive. The mind at work here is at all points quick, full of play and bite."

She was a semi-finalist in the 2006 "Discovery"/The Nation Poetry Contest. Her poem, "The Sense Series," was the text for a multimedia performance at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

Van Doren has taught creative writing in the St. Louis Public Schools and at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, and she curates the Sunday Poetry Workshops for the St. Louis Poetry Center.  She divides her time between St. Louis and Cornwall, Connecticut.

Bibliography

Promise (Louisiana State University Press, 2017)
Possessive (Louisiana State University Press, 2012)
Sex at Noon Taxes (Louisiana State University Press, 2007)

Empress

Her regime expires when
the moon meets the sun
on the horizon we can’t see
because the sycamore trees

next door block our view.
Our world droops in anticipation.
We would like to exchange
the unkind for the kind but

we can’t find the strength
to oust the inevitable. Instead
we joke about politics and watch
our neighbors arm themselves.

From Promise (Louisiana State University Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Sally Van Doren. Used with the permission of Louisiana State University Press.

From Promise (Louisiana State University Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Sally Van Doren. Used with the permission of Louisiana State University Press.

Sally Van Doren

Sally Van Doren

Poet Sally Van Doren was the recipient of the 2007 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets

by this poet

poem

I want to claim
that burst of blue,
to register it is an
antidote to the explosion
of too much emotion,
the yellows, reds and greens
that bombard my morning
vision.  Can we get
along or can’t we?
Not when one young man
sets his anger on fire
and it’s lights out

poem
Let's use our nicknames
When we apply for this next job
Even though it's past our bedtime
And our current paycheck
 
Can't shut up the muse
Who mewls at the dinner table
Begging for a crust of bread
To sate the nightly terrors.
 
For they come, don't they,
Leaving empty spaces numbers
Are supposed to fill. Buddy
poem
I chart the psyche,
observing how I 
force myself to speak
to you, imagining that
together we might
transform a life.  

Why this need
to document change,
to reverse a mood, 
to carry forward the time
when magnolias bloom?

Let’s follow the itinerant we
up and over the jonquil's back,
treading on its spilled