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About this poet

Born in 1963, poet Joshua Weiner is the author of three poetry collections: The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish (University Of Chicago Press, 2013), From the Book of Giants (University of Chicago Press, 2006), and The World's Room (University of Chicago Press, 2001).

He is the recipient of a 2002 Whiting Writer's Award and the 2003-2004 Rome Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; he has also held the Witter Bynner Fellowship at the Library of Congress and a residency fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He has received an Academy of American Poets Prize, an Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, the Discovery/The Nation Award, a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the PEN New England Discovery Award, the Joseph Henry Jackson Award from the San Francisco Foundation, and grants from the Illinois Arts Council.

He is professor of English at the University of Maryland and lives with his family in Washington, D.C.

 

Hikmet: Çankiri Prison, 1938

Today is Sunday.
Today, for the first time, they let me go out into the sun.
And I stood there I didn't move,
struck for the first time, the very first time ever:
how far away from me the sky is
                        how blue it is
                        how wide.
I sat down, in respect, in awe, I sat down on the ground,
I leaned my back against the wall.
In this moment, there were no waves to fall into;
in this moment, there was no liberty, and no wife, my wife.
There was only the earth beneath me, the sun above me, and me.
And how I am grateful, I am happy, to have this thing I call my life.

Copyright © 2013 by Joshua Weiner. From The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish (University of Chicago Press, 2013). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database

Copyright © 2013 by Joshua Weiner. From The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish (University of Chicago Press, 2013). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database

Joshua Weiner

Joshua Weiner

Born in 1963, poet Joshua Weiner is the author of three poetry collections, including The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish (University Of Chicago Press, 2013).

by this poet

poem
When I sing to you I am alone these days 
               and can't believe it, as if the stars

--while gazing up at them--just shut off.
               Astonished:

I search out the one light, brightest light
               in the night sky, but find

I cannot find it without weaker lights to guide me
poem
Why won't you make me now who wants a life
Inside your life?

                    I fear you as a thief
					
Stealing about the orchards of my future,
Green fruit glistening above a starving creature.

To increase the coin buried inside yourself
You need exchange it for an alien wealth.

Wealth
poem
Scared boy, he even fled a cloud
reminding him of what might happen

when his father returned from sea,
wasted, to find him perhaps again

locked out in the cold, waiting
for other drinkers to come home

(his mother, her lover)--the catalysis
of routine violence passing close

like a storm cloud insisting rain;