A man staring at a small lake sees His father cast light line out over The willows. He's forgotten his Father has been dead for two years And the lake is where a blue fog Rolls, and the sky could be, if it Were black or blue or white, The backdrop of all attention. He wades out to join the father, Following
Ralph Burns was born in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1949, and received an MFA from the University of Montana. He has published six books of poems: Ghost Notes (Oberlin College Press, 2001), winner of the Field Poetry Prize; Swamp Candles (1996); Mozart's Starling (1990); Any Given Day (1985); Windy Tuesday Nights (1984); and US (1983).
About his work, the poet Mark Jarman has said, "If Albert Camus wanted to know what was American in our poetry right now, what showed the breadth of our language and the honesty of its utterance, what was the best of American langue et parole, I'd show him Ralph Burns's poems."
Burns has published in many magazines including The Atlantic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and Field. He has won a number of awards including the Iowa Poetry Prize, the Great Lakes Colleges Award for the Best First Book in Poetry, and received two fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts.
He edited Crazyhorse and was a professor of creative writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He currently resides in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.