Appointed poet laureate of the state of Florida on June 15, 2015, Peter Meinke is the author of over twenty books of poetry. He has received many awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and three prizes from the Poetry Society of America. He worked at Eckerd College until 1993, when he retired. During his time at the college, he founded and directed its Writing Workshop.


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Florida poet laureate

Peter Meinke


Midsummer lies on this town 
like a plague: locusts now replaced 
by humidity, the bloodied Nile

now an algae-covered rivulet 
struggling to find its terminus. 
Our choice is a simple one:

to leave or to remain, to render 
the Spanish moss a memory 
or to pull it from trees, repeatedly.

And this must be what
She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
The water never formed to mind or voice,
Like a body wholly body, fluttering
Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
That was not ours although we understood,
Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.

The sea was not a mask.  No more
Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the