The Goddess Who Created This Passing World

By Alice Notley b. 1945 Alice Notley
The Goddess who created this passing world
Said Let there be lightbulbs & liquefaction
Life spilled out onto the street, colors whirled
Cars & the variously shod feet were born
And the past & future & I born too   
Light as airmail paper away she flew   
To Annapurna or Mt. McKinley   
Or both but instantly
Clarified, composed, forever was I   
Meant by her to recognize a painting   
As beautiful or a movie stunning   
And to adore the finitude of words   
And understand as surfaces my dreams   
Know the eye the organ of affection   
And depths to be inflections   
Of her voice & wrist & smile

Alice Notley, “The Goddess Who Created This Passing World” from Selected Poems (Talisman House, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by Alice Notley. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Selected Poems (1993)

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Poet Alice Notley b. 1945

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Subjects Religion, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Alice  Notley


Alice Notley has become one of America’s greatest living poets. She has long written in narrative and epic and genre-bending modes to discover new ways to explore the nature of the self and the social and cultural importance of disobedience. The artist Rudy Burckhardt once wrote that Notley may be “our present-day Homer.” 

Notley was born in Arizona and grew up in Needles, California. After earning her BA from Barnard College and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, God & the Divine

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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