Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Jean Valentine wins Nataional Book Award

Congratulations to Jean Valentine, a former teacher of mine and the person who introduced me to my wife, on winning the National Book Award for Poetry.

Valentine’s poetry takes the lyric to the highest order and explores the realms of the invisible that are formed by loss and the knowledge gained by experiencing loss and life.


Almost two years now I’ve been sleeping,
a hand on a table that was in a kitchen.

Five or six times you have come by
the window; as if I’d been on a bus

sleeping through the Northwest, waking up,
seeing old villages pass in your face,


A doctor and his wife, a doctor too, are in the kitchen
area, wide awake. We notice things
differently: a child’s handprint in a clay plate, a geranium, aluminum
balconies rail to rail, the car horns of a wedding,

blurs of children in white. Life shots
of other children. Fire to paper; black

faces, judge faces, Asian faces; flat
earth your face fern coal

--Jean Valentine, Door in the Mountain, p. 103

To learn more about Jean Valentine, you can visit her web site at:


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