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I was the lonely one in whom   
they swarmed in the millions.   
I was their creature and I   
was grateful. I could sleep   
when I wanted.   

I lived a divided   
existence in sleepdreams   
that lit up a silence as dreadful   
as that of the moon. I have   
an overly-precise recall of   

those solitary years before   
I opened the curtain and drew   
upon a universe of want that made   
me so strong I could crack   
spines of books with one hand.

Source: Poetry (March 2009)

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

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Ideas

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  • Journalist, essayist, and newspaper editor, Kathryn Starbuck started writing poems in her 60s. She is the author of Griefmania (Sheep Meadow Press, 2006) and Sex Perhaps (Sheep Meadow Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry, Sewanee Review, and Best American Poetry 2008.
    Though she was a practiced prose writer, it was the experience of grief that led her to writing poetry. After the deaths of her husband, the poet George Starbuck, her parents, and others close to her, she found that her “scribbling” in notebooks was taking the form of poetry. Starbuck identifies her subjects in Griefmania as Greek history and “my interior life.” Joel Brouwer has commented on the “real rawness to the emotion and the energy” in Starbuck’s work.
    Starbuck is the editor, with Elizabeth Meese, of George Starbuck’s poetry collections Visible Ink (2002) and The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades (2003). She has edited the Milford, New Hampshire, weekly...

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