Jean Valentine is an American poet, and currently the New York State Poet (2008–2010). Her poetry collection, Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965–2003, was awarded the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry.
Her most recent book Break the Glass (Copper Canyon Press, 2010) was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her first book, Dream Barker, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 1965. She has published poems widely in literary journals and magazines, including The New Yorker, and Harper's Magazine, and The American Poetry Review. Valentine was one of five poets including Charles Wright, Russell Edson, James Tate and Louise Gluck, whose work... more »
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Jean Valentine Poems
To Plath, To Sexton
So what use was poetry to a white empty house?
We met for supper in your flat-bottomed boat. I got there first: in a white dress: I remember Wondering if you'd come. Then you shot over the bank, A Virgilian Nigger Jim, and poled us off
Elegy For Jane Kenyon (2)
Jane is big with death, Don sad and kind - Jane though she's dying
I have decorated this banner to honor my brother. Our parents did not want his name used publicly -- from an unnamed child's banner in the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Late have I called & late my beloved was blessing me
You came in a dream, yesterday — The first day we met you showed me
Friend I need your hand every morning but anger and beauty and hope
You who I don't know I don't know how to talk to you —What is it like for you there?
The One You Wanted to Be Is the One You ...
She saying, You don't have to do anything you don't even have to be, you Only who are, you nobody from nowhere, without one sin or one good quality,
The branches looked first like tepees, but there was no emptiness.
one arm still a swan's wing The worst had happened before:
Father Lynch Returns from the Dead
There's one day a year they can return, if they want.
I Have Lived In Your Face
I have lived in your face. Have I been you?
To The Black Madonna Of Chartres
Friend or no friend, darkness or light,
Comments about Jean Valentine
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
To Plath, To Sexton
So what use was poetry
to a white empty house?
Wolf, swan, hare,
in by the fire.
And when your tree
crashed through your house,
what use then
was all your power?
It was the use of you.
It was the flower.