Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Oct. 13, 2013

Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Oct. 13, 2013

Anyone who has followed this column since its introduction in 2005 knows how much I like poems that describe places.

Here's one by Joseph Hutchison, who lives in Colorado. This is the kind of scene that Edward Hopper might have painted. I especially love the way Hutchison captures the buzz of the neon sign.

Winter Sunrise Outside a Cafe

Near Butte, Montana

A crazed sizzle of blazing bees

in the word EAT. Beyond it,

thousands of stars have faded

like deserted flowers in the thin

light washing up in the distance,

flooding the snowy mountains

bluff by bluff. Moments later,

the sign blinks, winks dark,

and a white-aproned cook —

surfacing in the murky sheen

of the window — leans awhile

like a cut lily . . . staring out

into the famished blankness

he knows he must go home to.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (http://www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It also is supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright 2012 by Glenn and reprinted from the Nimrod International Journal, Vol. 56, No. 1, 2012, by permission of Glenn and the publisher. Introduction copyright 2013 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 to '06. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


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