National Poetry Month 2012: National Poetry Map

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Choose a state to find local poets, poems, events, literary journals, writing programs, poetry organizations, and more on National Poetry Map

Philip Levine is the U.S. Poet Laureate.

Utah's Poet Laureate is Katharine Coles.

Who is the Poet Laureate of your state or country?

National Laureate
Robert Fitterman

Eagle and egret, woodcock and teal, all birds
gathering to affirm the last gasp of sunset.

Maybe I should stay in bed
all day long and read a book
or listen to the news on the radio
but truthfully, I am not meant for that.

Then, as we talked, my personage subdued,
And I became, as Petit jean, a ghost,

I can stand here all day and tell you how much
I honor, admire, how brave you are.

Dark grays and fainter
Grays of near fields and far hills
Motionless, his mind

Playing silently
Over and over with his
Worry beads of words.

On her dresser is one of those old glass bottles
of Jergen's Lotion with the black label, a little round
bottle of Mum deodorant, a white plastic tray
with Avon necklaces and earrings, pennies, paper clips,
and a large black coat button. I appear to be very
interested in these objects.

We learn from our animals, if we're smart.
They know how to wait. They know how to run
To catch up. Much of their life is spent at windows.

Loaded on beer and whiskey, we ride
to the dump in carloads
to turn our headlights across the wasted field,

I imagined him wading the shallows of a mountain stream—
the breeze still cold off the higher snow fields,
the fish smell of fresh water, the pitched hum of insects
waking to the sun.

Fact is, each breath becomes bone
becomes dust

Hill Thoughts,
Midnight Flight

The afternoons go by, one by one.
My old friend, who shone like a tropic sun
Amid the poets of our day, too soon
Grown wan and thin as the late May moon,

In river country flint nodules rest
among limestone sea bottoms, unexplained,
glassy among the porous tangles of shells

I see her in a photograph I found,
unsmiling in a drop-waist dress. No telling
how the roaring twenties roared through here.

i search but i can not find out
the streets of my ancestors

nor any relative to receive me

When I was a child and angels argued slamming doors,
I lolled, feet up the couch, head on the floor

Before I leave, almost without noticing,
before I cross the road and head toward
what I have intentionally postponed—

Behind the Ridge
The Seeking Spirit
Cry Life

Gray cloud like a sweater pulled over the heart of the moon.

Windmill. Stretch even the
Fingertips against sand-coated hills.
You can get there from here,

Treat your Mommy nice
and take her to Las Vegas—
she'll think you're swell.

New Hampshire
The city was brick and stone in the time
before glass and steel. In those days
the city was streets of women.

New York
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye.

North Carolina
The only clouds
forming are crow clouds,

the only shade, oaks
bound together in a tangle of oak

North Dakota
Most poets are rooted in the natural world,
spokespersons for the inarticulate in nature.

under her cool skin
the feet dipped in formaldehyde
to prevent sweating
a river runs.

And you pretty much gotta trust Her,
even if that means twiddling your thumbs
while she makes Her way through Her medley—

Rhode Island
The dark barge works the length of braziers
humped like monks awaiting sacrifice;

South Carolina
Seeds of hope are waiting
in the sacred soil beneath our feet
and in the light and in the shadows,
spinning below the hemlocks.

for eighty some odd years
He rose with the rising sun
And many mornings got up at dark
For so much work was to be done.

Her skirt clings to her the way fog clings to a flower.
Her legs are curled up, her sleeping face soft like a saint.
Driving for hours a man thinks about how things are measured,
about how coffee always tastes better in small towns.

Neither of us can guess if they'll hurry
dusk along, those clouds that have loitered
all afternoon over the rooftops. From our window...

When you come back to me
it will be crow time
and flycatcher time,
with rising spirals of gnats
between the apple trees.

When the last cloud leaves
nothing behind—no
history, no trace of error, no
basilica to shelter a man—

oblivious to the fact
that anyone might be watching,
that he might be teaching us all
how to live

West Virginia
Then, that recognition would
reward me for all I'd undergone,
my bravery of thought, my refusal
of dishonest love, and my goodwill

Although distance does not
matter, it's a long way
into the flat pine forest

the work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair

Note: Not every U.S. state has a designated poet laureate

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