From a Photograph

By George Oppen 1908–1984 George Oppen
Her arms around me—child—
Around my head, hugging with her whole arms,
Whole arms as if I were a loved and native rock,
The apple in her hand—her apple and her father,
                   and my nose pressed
Hugely to the collar of her winter coat—. There
                   in the photograph

It is the child who is the branch
We fall from, where would be bramble,
Brush, bramble in the young Winter
With its blowing snow she must have thought
Was ours to give to her.

George Oppen, “From a Photograph” from New Collected Poems. Copyright © 1962 by George Oppen. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Poetry (March 1962).


This poem originally appeared in the March 1962 issue of Poetry magazine

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March 1962
 George  Oppen


George Oppen, a prominent American poet, was one of the chief exponents of Objectivism, a school of poetry that emphasized simplicity and clarity over formal structure and rhyme. Born in 1908 to a wealth family and expelled from a high school military academy, Oppen and his wife Mary travelled across the country, finding work wherever they could, until he received a small inheritance at 21. With these funds, the couple moved to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Photography & Film

SCHOOL / PERIOD Objectivist

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