Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout’s collection Versed won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She taught for more than twenty years at the University of California, San Diego.

Three Poems

Rae Armantrout, 20 October 2022


‘You are not your thoughts.’

Find the still point,the naked bulb,

the white peonyunfolding

one moreinner ring

while not beingexactly open.

An animal needssomething to watch.


What I sawas a formation

of fighter jetsin the distance

was, instead,a blow-up

of rivetson a panel truck.


Thinking is hard,but thoughts just happen

because of the nearrhymingof sparks.

Story Line

Kids like talking...

Poem: ‘Fortune’

Rae Armantrout, 24 February 2022


It could have started like this.My mother took me to fabric shops when I was a kid.I would wander through the tall bolts dazed, readingfortunes in the colours.


Whitepapier-mâchéof the mock-orange floweron its many stems.

Lavender, as an afterthought, necrotic –carried interest.

Ochrelike sunset in LA,like dehydration.

The popular mauve-greywhich blendsindifference with...

Poem: ‘Too Much Information’

Rae Armantrout, 22 April 2021



the backwards-facing S,a decoration in the iron rail,was here when I came,with its extra curlicuesat each end,and a miniatureversion of itselflike a foetusaffixed to its middle.

I’m telling you more, perhaps,than you need to know.

The sun on...

Two Poems

Rae Armantrout, 8 October 2020


Nothing to see here.

Pine cones litterthe gutters.

Whose turn is itto blow on the mirror,mama?


Each pushes forwardin her wild eagernessto take partin a ritual.

‘Is this that thingabout fireflies?’



We use similes to showthings are connected –

and they are,just not in the ways we say.


A hole in fresh dirtsurrounded by orange conesinto whicha crow peers,hops...

Two Poems

Rae Armantrout, 6 February 2020


Were you surprised to learnthat you could swapan ‘i’ for an eye,and ‘a’ for an apple?

That’s the lure.

Later, you maywant to pray.


You may be leftto think your wayfrom moment to moment

without being toldwhat a moment is,

if it’s something solid.


The mad hear languagespeak itselfand are humble before it.

They receive instruction.


The child in her...

Where Things Get Fuzzy: Rae Armantrout

Stephanie Burt, 30 March 2017

By​ 1979, when Rae Armantrout published her second book, The Invention of Hunger, with Lyn Hejinian’s Tuumba Press, she was already what much of the literary world would soon learn to...

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