American Poetry

By Louis Simpson 1923–2012 Louis Simpson
Whatever it is, it must have
A stomach that can digest
Rubber, coal, uranium, moons, poems.
 
Like the shark it contains a shoe.
It must swim for miles through the desert
Uttering cries that are almost human.

Louis Simpson, “American Poetry” from The Owner of the House: New Collected Poems, 1940-2001. Copyright © 2003 by Louis Simpson. Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. .

Source: Owner of the House: New Collected Poems 1940-2001 (BOA Editions Ltd., 2003)

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Poet Louis Simpson 1923–2012

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Metaphor, Tercet

 Louis  Simpson

Biography

Poet, editor, translator, and critic Louis Simpson was born in 1923, in Jamaica, to Scottish and Russian parents. A contemporary of Confessional poets like Robert Lowell, John Berryman, and Sylvia Plath, Simpson’s early work followed a familiar arc. In the New York Times Book Review, critic David Orr noted its highlights: “Simpson has followed a path lined with signposts sunk so deep in our nation's poetic terra firma that . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Metaphor, Tercet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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