Bruce Weigl

Bruce Weigl Poems

When he was my age and I was already a boy
my father made a machine in the garage.
A wired piece of steel
with many small and beautiful welds

After the storm, after the rain stopped pounding,
We stood in the doorway watching horses
Walk off lazily across the pasture's hill.

That night we drank warm whiskey
in our parked car
beyond woods now lost to the suburbs,
I fell in love with you.

Never mind what you think.
The old man did not rush
Recklessly into the coop the last minute.
The chickens hardly stirred

Some guy in the miserable convoy
Raised up in the back of our open truck
And threw a can of c-rations at a child

I watch the woods for deer as if I'm armed.
I watch the woods for deer who never come.
I know the hes and shes in autumn

A boy who knew enough to save for something
like the whim that took me downtown on the bus
one lost Saturday morning of my mother's birthday,

Because this evening Miss Hoang Yen
sat down with me in the small
tiled room of her family house
I am unable to sleep.


I wanted to stay with my dog
when they did her in
I told the young veterinarian
who wasn't surprised.

Snow geese in the light of morning sky,
exactly at the start of spring. I was
looking through the cracks of the blinds at my future which seemed


I didn't know I was grateful
for such late-autumn
bent-up cornfields

We are wrapped around each other in
the back of my father's car parked
in the empty lot of the high school

Bruce Weigl Biography

Bruce Weigl (born January 27, 1949, Lorain, Ohio) is an American contemporary poet who teaches at Lorain County Community College. Weigl enlisted in the United States Army shortly after his 18th birthday and spent three years in the service. He served in the Vietnam War from December 1967 to December 1968 and received the Bronze Star . When he returned to the United States, Weigl obtained a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College, and a Master of Arts Degree in Writing/American and British Literature from the University of New Hampshire. From 1975-76, Weigl was an instructor at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio. Weigl's first full-length collection of poems, A Romance, was published in 1979. Afterwards, he received a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 1979, he was an assistant professor of English at the University of Arkansas and later held the same position at Old Dominion University. Weigl additionally served as the president of the Associated Writing Programs. During the 1980s, Weigl published two more poetry collections, The Monkey Wars and Song of Napalm. In 1986, Weigl became an associate professor of English at Pennsylvania State University and was later promoted to a professor of English. In 1999, he published two more poetry collections, Archeology of the Circle: New and Selected Poems and After the Others. He left Penn State in 2000 and took a position at Lorain County Community College as a distinguished professor. He also published a memoir that year titled The Circle of Hanh: A Memoir. Many of Weigl's poems are inspired by the time he spent in the U.S. Army and Vietnam. In The Circle of Hanh, Weigl writes, "The war took away my life and gave me poetry in return...the fate the world has given me is to struggle to write powerfully enough to draw others into the horror." In addition to writing his own poetry, Weigl worked with Thanh T. Nguyen of the Joiner Research Center to translate poems of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers captured during war. Weigl and Nguten accepted an invitation from the Vietnamese Writers Association and traveled to Hanoi to receive assistance in translating the poems. His poems are featured in American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary Poets (2006) and many other anthologies. Weigl's first award was a prize from the American Academy of Poets in 1979. He received two Pushcart Prizes, a Patterson Poetry Prize, and a Yaddo Foundation Fellowship. Weigl was awarded the Bread Loaf Fellowship in Poetry in 1981 and was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988 for Arts and Creative Writing. He was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for Song of Napalm, and in 2006 he won the Lannan Literary Award in Poetry. He was 2003 Poetry Panel Chair for the National Book Award. In 2011, Weigl was awarded the Robert Creeley Award by the Robert Creeley Foundation.)

The Best Poem Of Bruce Weigl

The Harp

When he was my age and I was already a boy
my father made a machine in the garage.
A wired piece of steel
with many small and beautiful welds
ground so smooth they resembled rows of pearls.

He went broke with whatever it was.
He held it so carefully in his arms.
He carried it foundry to foundry.
I think it was his harp,
I think it was what he longed to make
with his hands for the world.

He moved it finally from the locked closet
to the bedroom
to the garage again
where he hung it on the wall
until I climbed and pulled it down
and rubbed it clean
and tried to make it work.
Bruce Weigl, "The Harp" from Archaeology of the Cir

Bruce Weigl Comments

Andrew Kaufman 17 November 2021

As these poems illustrate, it's a poor reflection on the various Pulitzer Prize committees over the years that none of Bruce Weigl's numerous books have received a Pulitzer for poetry..

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