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.

Poem: ‘Fortune’

Rae Armantrout, 24 February 2022

1

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.

2

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

                        1

Dears,

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

Finalist

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?’

Maybe.

*

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

Instruction

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...

Two Poems

Rae Armantrout, 4 July 2019

Value Added

The way orchid splits the difference

with hot pink, say,

in the hanging plastic crystal –

how an increased level of saturation

can come across as reticence

or even as retraction.

There, where it changes tack –

the as in the ‘come across as’ –

put your tongue on that.

‘A Child Is Being Beaten’

Sign in car window:

It’s not about us,...

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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