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Completely Subjective – “A Good List” by Brad Leithauser

Famous poet, Brad Leithauser, wrote A Good List while lying awake in his bed in Iceland one evening. “A Good List” gives a humorous and lighthearted list of things Leithauser has “never done wrong” (Leithauser). His literal “good list” ranges from describing how he has never stolen any gnomes from a garden to his refusal to forge a lottery ticket. At first I was curious as to why Leithauser was going into depth about his “good list.” However, it becomes clear by the end of the poem that he uses this list to distract and exhaust out his brain, when…

The Best American Poetry: Michael Dickman’s “From the Lives of My Friends”

The poem, From the “Lives of My Friends,” by Michael Dickman, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/12/14/from-the-lives-of-my-friends was first published in the New Yorker in 2009 and is a coming of age story that explores the impact of childhood friends on our lives as we grow old with them. Michael Dickman grew up in Portland, Oregon and is the author of three books, The End of the West, Flies, and Mayakovsky’s Revolver. He is the recipient of The Honickman First Book Prize, The May Sarton Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Kate Tufts Award from Claremont College, and the 2009 Oregon…

The Three That Speak to Me: “They Knew What They Wanted”, “Getting Serious,” and “Insomnia”

Poems have the ability to connect people to the power of the written word in a way that books cannot. Often times, a shorter poem can result in a more thought-provoking the message, as the reader can spin a million interpretations and connections. I chose three very different poems from the 2009 volume of Best American Poetry (https://www.bestamericanpoetry.com/ pages/volumes/?id=2009) to analyze because they touch on many disparate American ideals – from gun-toting thieves and homes, to finding one’s soul. The humor and clever associations found in these poems make them intriguing to read. “They knew What They Wanted” by John…

“A Good List”: An Interview with Brad Leithauser

Even though Brad Leithauser attended Harvard Law and had a career as a lawyer, he never lost his love of poetry, one that began in high school. He then traveled to Japan to work in a law office but wrote while he was there. He never was really as interested in law as he was…

A Renowned Poetic Voice: An Interview with Matthew Zapruder

Matthew Zapruder is an American poet, editor, translator, and professor who was born in Washington D.C.. He studied Russian Literature at Amherst College and then received an MA in Slavic Languages from the University of California, Berkeley as well as an MFA in Poetry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His works are very well-regarded…

Robert Hass: A Look into his Career and “San Pedro Road”

Robert Hass is a contemporary American poet who in addition to writing poetry, is known for translating and being a critic of Polish poetry and Japanese Haikus. Hass is recognized for his clarity of expression, conciseness, imagery, and the fact that he draws inspiration from everyday life. Contemporary poet Forrest Gander says that Hass’ “work…

“The Answer”: Five Questions with Susan Parr

Susan Parr is the author of Pacific Shooter, awarded the Lena-Miles Wever Todd prize from Pleiades Press.  Her work is anthologized in The Best American Poetry series and in Alive at the Center: Poetry from the Pacific Northwest (Ooligan Press, 2013). Born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, she was educated at Barnard College in New…