Mark Strand (1934-). Canadian-born, Strand spent his early teens in South and Central America. He earned a B.A. from Antioch, a B.F.A. in painting at Yale, and studied 19th Century Italian poetry on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1960-61. He has taught at numerous colleges and universities. He became Poet Laureate Consultant to the Library of Congress in 1990. His work — which includes six volumes of poetry translations, twelve titles in prose, and 17 collections of his own poetry — has won eight national awards. He is a somber-hued surrealist who is sometimes clownish:
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.
The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.
Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.
She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
Blizzard of One : Poems (1999 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Poetry)
The Making of a Poem : a Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms
Library Note : The second title, edited by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland, offers a wonderful introduction to poetic forms used by poets featured on this blog over the years. Poetry readers and writers, consistent or emerging, will find in this volume concise explanations and examples of villanelles, sestinas, sonnets, elegies, pastorals, odes, pantoums and other poetic structures.
Coming in April: National Poetry Month