Mystery and Solitude in Topeka

By Mark Strand 1934–2014 Mark Strand
Afternoon darkens into evening. A man falls deeper and deeper into the slow spiral of sleep, into the drift of it, the length of it, through what feels like mist, and comes at last to an open door through which he passes without knowing why, then again without knowing why goes to a room where he sits and waits while the room seems to close around him and the dark is darker than any he has known, and he feels something forming within him without being sure what it is, its hold on him growing, as if a story were about to unfold, in which two characters, Pleasure and Pain, commit the same crime, the one that is his, that he will confess to again and again, until it means nothing.

Source: Poetry (January 2011).

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2011
 Mark  Strand

Biography

Mark Strand was recognized as one of the premier American poets of his generation as well as an accomplished editor, translator, and prose writer. The hallmarks of his style are precise language, surreal imagery, and the recurring theme of absence and negation; later collections investigate ideas of the self with pointed, often urbane wit. Named the U.S. Poet Laureate in 1990, Strand’s career spanned five decades, and he won . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Coming of Age, Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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