from Stops Along the Western Bank of the Missouri River: Of the River Itself

By Michael Anania b. 1939 Michael Anania
This is my advice to foreigners:   
call it simply—the river;
never say old muddy
or even Missouri,
and except when it is necessary   
ignore the fact that it moves.   
It is the river, a singular,
stationary figure of division.
Do not allow the pre-Socratic   
to enter your mind except
when thinking of clear water trout   
streams in north central Wyoming.   
The river is a variety of land,   
a kind of dark sea or great bay,   
sea of greater ocean.
At times I find it good discipline   
to think of it as a tree
rooted in the delta,
a snake on its topmost western branch.   
These hills are not containers;   
they give no vantage but that   
looking out is an act of transit.   
We are not confused,
we do not lose our place.

Michael Anania, “Of the River Itself” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by Michael Anania. Used by permission of Asphodel Press/Acorn Alliance.

Source: Selected Poems (Asphodel Press, 1994)

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Poet Michael Anania b. 1939

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Travels & Journeys, Activities, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Landscapes & Pastorals, Sports & Outdoor Activities, Nature

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 Michael  Anania

Biography

In the afterword to his first book, the 1969 New Poetry Anthology, Michael Anania wrote, "There is little evidence that modernism is dead or even dying. The tradition of Pound, Eliot, Williams, Stevens and their contemporaries is very much alive." Anania's importance as a poet lies in how he preserves and develops this modernist tradition in American poetry. A deep commitment to modernism and the tradition of experimental, often . . .

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SUBJECT Travels & Journeys, Activities, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Landscapes & Pastorals, Sports & Outdoor Activities, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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