Marilyn Nelson (born April 26, 1946) is an American poet, translator and children's book author. She is the author or translator of twelve books and three chapbooks.
From 1978 to 1994 she wrote books as Marilyn Nelson Waniek.
Nelson was born on April 26, 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio to Melvin M. Nelson, a U.S. serviceman in the Air Force, and Johnnie Mitchell Nelson, a teacher. She was brought up living on military bases, and began writing while in elementary school. She earned her B.A. from the University of California-Davis, and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1979.
She is a professor emeritus of English at the ... more »
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Marilyn Nelson Poems
Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch, are bickering. The eldest has come home with new truths she can hardly wait to teach.
Thank you for these tiny particles of ocean salt, pearl-necklace viruses, winged protozoans:
I have no answer to the blank inequity of a four-year-old dying of cancer. I saw her on TV and wept with my mouth full of meatloaf.
The House On Moscow Street
It's the ragged source of memory, a tarpaper-shingled bungalow whose floors tilt toward the porch, whose back yard ends abruptly
Which reminds me of another knock-on-wood memory. I was cycling with a male friend, through a small midwestern town. We came to a 4-way stop and stopped, chatting. As we started again,
The Lutherans sit stolidly in rows; only their children feel the holy ghost that makes them jerk and bobble and almost destroys the pious atmosphere for those
Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch,
are bickering. The eldest has come home
with new truths she can hardly wait to teach.
She lectures them: the younger daughters search
the sky, elbow each others' ribs, and groan.
Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch
and blue-sprigged dresses, like a stand of birch
saplings whose leaves are going yellow-brown
with new truths. They can hardly wait to teach,
themselves, to be called "Ma'am," to march
high-heeled across the hanging bridge to town.
Five daughters. In the slant light ...