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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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POETRY

 

AMERICA’S NATIONAL TREASURE

RAE ARMANTROUT
 

 

Our National Treasure, Rae Armantrout, is a professor of writing in the literature department at the University ofCalifornia at San Diego. She has also taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Bard College, Naropa University, San Diego State University, and San Francisco State University.


Armantrout’s tenth book of poetry, Money Shot, was published by Wesleyan University Press in February 2011. Her previous poetry collections include Versed (Wesleyan 2009), which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, and was a finalist for the National Book Award; Next Life (Wesleyan 2007), which was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best poetry books of 2007; Up to Speed(Wesleyan 2003), also selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best poetry books of the year in 2003; and Veil: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan, 2001), which was a finalist in the Poetry category for the 2002 PEN Center USA Literary Awards. She has been published in many anthologies, including The Oxford Book of American Poetry and Scribner’s Best American Poetry of 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2011, and in such magazines as Harpers, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Chicago Review, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. She has also received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation (2008), the Fund for Poetry (1999 and 1994) and the California Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship (1989). Her collected prose was published in 2007.

 

Armantrout was born in Vallejo, California, and earned her A.B. at University of California at Berkeley (1970), and her M.A. at San Francisco State University (1975). She lives in San Diego, California.

Simple

                         for Aaron Korkegian


Complex systems can arise

from simple rules.

 

It’s not

that we want to survive,

it’s that we’ve been drugged

and made to act

as if we do

 

while all the while

the sea breaks

and rolls, painlessly, under.

 

If we’re not copying it,

we’re lonely.

 

Is this the knowledge

 

that demands to be

passed down?

 

Time is made from swatches

of heaven and hell.

 

If we’re not killing it,

we’re hungry.

 


 

PREVIEWS



AMERICA

 

The playboy scion of a weapons company repents. His company,

he sees now, is corrupt, his weapons being sold (behind his back) to strong men. Alone, he builds a super weapon in the shape of a man. Now, more powerful and more innocent than ever before, he attacks.

 

 

HAPPENING

 

The train halts. An engineer tells us we’re stopped because we’ve

lost touch with the outside world. Things are happening ahead, but we don’t know what they are. This could represent an act of war. We stand in a field, no longer passengers.

 

 

 

 

 

 “Simple” and “Previews” are reprinted from the poetry book Versed by Rae Armantrout, published by Welseyan University Press, copyright © 2010 Rae Armantrout [by permission.]

 Versed is available for sale online at: www.amazon.com/Versed-Wesleyan-Poetry-Rae-Armantrout