By George Oppen 1908–1984 George Oppen
Miracle of the children              the brilliant
Children           the word
Liquid as woodlands              Children?

When she was a child I read Exodus
To my daughter          'The children of Israel. . .'

Pillar of fire
Pillar of cloud

We stared at the end
Into each other's eyes                            Where
She said hushed

Were the adults              We dreamed to each other
Miracle of the children
The brilliant children                       Miracle

Of their brilliance                      Miracle

George Oppen, "Exodus" from New Collected Poems. Copyright © 2008 by George Oppen. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: New Collected Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2008)

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Poet George Oppen 1908–1984

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Subjects Living, Infancy, Time & Brevity, Youth

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 George  Oppen


"George Oppen," wrote Michael Adams in The Dictionary of Literary Biography, "had one of the most unusual careers of any American poet." Oppen was one of the chief exponents of Objectivism, a school of poetry that emphasized simplicity and clarity over formal structure and rhyme. He established the movement with William Carlos Williams, Louis Zukosfky, and other poets in the early 1930s. In 1932 Oppen helped found the . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Infancy, Time & Brevity, Youth

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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