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About this poet

Diane Seuss was born in Michigan City, Indiana, in 1956 and raised in Edwardsburg and Niles, Michigan. She studied at Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University, where she received a master’s degree in social work.

Seuss is the author of four books of poetry: Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (Graywolf Press, 2018); Four-Legged Girl (Graywolf Press, 2015); Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010), recipient of the Juniper Prize for Poetry; and It Blows You Hollow (New Issues Press, 1998).

Seuss served as the MacLean Distinguished Visiting Professor in the English department at Colorado College in 2012 and is currently writer-in-residence at Kalamazoo College, where she has been on the faculty since 1988. She lives in Michigan.


Bibliography

Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (Graywolf Press, 2018)
Four-Legged Girl (Graywolf Press, 2015)
Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010)
It Blows You Hollow (New Issues Press, 1998)

Silence Is So Accurate, Rothko Wrote

Accurate like an arrow without a target
and no target in mind.

Silence has its own roar or, not-roar,
just as Rothko wrote “I don’t express myself
in my paintings. I express my not-self.”

A poem that expresses the not-self.
Everything but the self.
The meadow’s veil of fog, but is veil self-referential?

Already, dawn, the not-birds alert to what silence has to offer.

The fog, one of Rothko’s shapes,
hanging there in the not-self, humming.

Mikel, before he died, loved Rothko most.
When he could still think, he put his mind
to those sorts of judgments.

If I pull the fog away like theater curtains, what then?

Sadness shapes the landscape.
The arrow of myself thwacks the nearest tree.
Fog steps closer like a perpetrator or a god.

Oh. I’m weeping.
Tears feed the silence like a mother drops
into her baby not-bird’s open beak

some sweet but dangerous morsel.

From Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (Graywolf Press, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Diane Seuss. Used with the permission of Graywolf Press.

From Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (Graywolf Press, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Diane Seuss. Used with the permission of Graywolf Press.

Diane Seuss

Diane Seuss

Diane Seuss is the author of four books of poetry: Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (Graywolf Press, 2018); Four-Legged Girl (Graywolf Press, 2015); Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010), recipient of the Juniper Prize for Poetry; and It Blows You Hollow (New Issues Press, 1998).

by this poet

poem

Some women make a pilgrimage to visit it
in the Indiana library charged to keep it safe.

I didn’t drive to it; I dreamed it, the thick braid
roped over my hands, heavier than lead.

My own hair was long for years.
Then I became obsessed with chopping it off,

and I did, clear up to my

poem

If there’s pee on the seat it’s my pee,
battery’s dead I killed it, canary at the bottom
of the cage I bury it, like God tromping the sky
in his undershirt carrying his brass spittoon,
raging and sobbing in his Hush Puppy house
slippers with the backs broke down, no Mrs.
God to make

poem

The grief, when I finally contacted it 
decades later, was black, tarry, hot,
like the yarrow-edged side roads 
we walked barefoot in the summer. 

Sometimes we’d come upon a toad 
flattened by a car tire, pressed into 
the softened pitch, its arms spread out 
a