Pulitzer Poetry 100

Pulitzer Poetry 100

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Heading North, straw hat cocked on the back of his head, tight curls gleaming with brilliantine, he didn’t stop until the nights of chaw and river-bright had retreated, somehow into another’s life. He landed in Akron, Ohio 1921, on the dingy beach of a man-made lake.…

The Washington Square Park dog run Is built on an old Indian burial ground Right smack in the middle Of a carnival of joggers, yapping Babysitters, inline skaters (skating mostly backwards!) Pharmaceutical reps whispering smoke, smoke...…

Out of your grave, John Chapman, in Fort Wayne, May you arise, and flower, and come true. We meanwhile, being of a spotted strain And born into a wilder land than you, Expecting less of natural tree or man And dubious of working out the brute, Affix such hopeful scions as we can To the rude, forked, and ever savage root.…

There were summer floods and mildew humming through fringe, there was a picture of a ship she passed on her way to the porch, strangers calling from the street Ma’am, your bird shore can sing! If she leaned out she could glimpse the faintest of mauve – no more than an idea – growing just behind the last houses.…

...and I, overcome with love for everything so quickly fading, my head stuck out the window of our shouldered and cemented-in-little island, here, now, in the tenement of this moment, dear Patricia’s light, night after night, burning with all the others, on 78 Charles Street.…

Dreaming the stream bottom tides, Writhing at times to respire, and Sealing to him flat stones, He closely abides, abides: One night I sat till dawn on a porch, rocked in a cane-bottom chair, In Geneseo, in Illinois, Rocking from light to light; Silent and out of sight…

Brooklyn, 1929. Of course Crane’s been drinking and has no idea who this curious Andalusian is, unable even to speak the language of poetry. The young man who brought them together knows both Spanish and English, but he has a headache from jumping back and forth from one language to another. For a moment’s relief he goes to the window to look down on the East River, darkening below as the early night comes on...…

My first day in New York City I found a sweet pad on Jane Street. It was spring, everyone was hurrying somewhere tremendous, bursting with the most eclectic appetites. In all those buildings all those windows hosting the most magical schemes... that’s why it was impossible to sleep.…

Off to the west, in Memphis, where the sun's Mid-morning fire beat on a wider stream, His purpose headstrong as a river runs, Grant closed a smoky door on aides and guards And chewed through scheme on scheme For toppling Vicksburg like a house of cards.…

On the way to lower Broadway this morning I faced a tall man speaking to a piece of chalk held in his right hand. The left was open, and it kept the beat, for his speech had a rhythm, was a chant or dance, perhaps even a poem in French, for he was from Senegal and spoke French so slowly and precisely that I could understand as though hurled back fifty years to my high school classroom...…
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