Texas

The current state poet laureate of Texas is Jenny Browne, who was appointed in 2017 and is serving a one-year term. Browne is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Dear Stranger (University of Tampa Press, 2013). She received the Cecil Hemley Award from the Poetry Society of America, as well as several fellowships from the National Endowment of Arts and the San Antonio Artist Foundation. Browne currently teaches creative writing, environmental literature, and women and gender studies at Trinity University in San Antonio.

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poems

poem
I never knew them all, just hummed
and thrummed my fingers with the radio,
driving five hundred miles to Austin.
Her arms held all the songs I needed.
Our boots kept time with fiddles
and the charming sobs of blondes,

the whine of steel guitars
sliding us down in deer-hide chairs
when jukebox music was over.
poem

Old fang-in-the-boot trick. Five-chambered
asp. Pit organ and puff adder. Can live
in any medium save ice. Charmed by the flute
or the first thunderstorm in spring, drowsy
heart stirs from the cistern, the hibernaculum,
the wintering den of stars. Smells like the cucumber
served

poem
Sunday takes us to the relic-boxes of small Texas towns,
their shops of Sears and Roebuck
            sewing machine stands,
bordello bedframes, and scrap-metal lawn art: a butterfly
stakes a Spartan garden
            with pollen rust.
Learning the hard way not to touch even the brass panel
of a swinging