Gregory Pardlo

Gregory Pardlo Poems

I found the scrap of City Paper
classified, the 1-900 number and photos
like candidates there, in love's voting machine.

Plow-piled snow shrouded
in shadow from the abbreviating sun, snow
frosted with the exhaust of tour buses. Pigeons shift in congress.
Sun glints windshields & chrome

The girls turning double-dutch
bob & weave like boxers pulling
punches, shadowing each other,

For a flag! I answered facetiously. A flag of tomorrow,
fluent in fire, not just the whispers, lisps, not just the still there
of powdered wigs, dry winds. Who wants a speckled

He heard in curtains of sleet cleaving
from magnolia leaves encrypted Aztec
frequencies, he said. When the sun

I dragged my twelve-year-old cousin
to see the Broadway production of A Raisin
in the Sun because the hip-hop mogul

I was born in minutes in a roadside kitchen a skillet
whispering my name. I was born to rainwater and lye;
I was born across the river where I


Those hammer-ons on Over the Hills made my fingers bleed.
That is, my devotion to their shapes made my fingers bleed.

Gregory Pardlo Biography

Gregory Pardlo (born November 24, 1968) is an American poet, writer, and professor, whose book Digest won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His poems, reviews, and translations have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Poet Lore, Harvard Review, Ploughshares, and on National Public Radio. His work has been praised for its “language simultaneously urban and highbrow… snapshots of a life that is so specific it becomes universal.” Gregory Pardlo’s first volume of poems, Totem, was chosen by Brenda Hillman as the winner of the 2007 American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize, distributed by Copper Canyon Press. The manuscript for Totem was also a semifinalist for the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, a finalist for the National Poetry Series, and a finalist for the inaugural Essence Magazine Literary Award in Poetry. Pardlo is the translator of the full-length poetry collection Pencil of Rays and Spike Mace by Danish poet Niels Lyngsø. Born in Philadelphia, Pardlo grew up in Willingboro, New Jersey. His younger brother is Robbie Pardlo, an American musician formerly of R&B group City High. Gregory Pardlo received his B.A. in English from Rutgers University-Camden. In 2001, he earned his M.F.A. from New York University as a New York Times Fellow in Poetry. He has been the recipient of additional fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Cave Canem Foundation, the MacDowell Artist's Colony, the Seaside Institute, the Lotos Club Foundation, and City University of New York, as well as a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Pardlo’s poem “Written by Himself” appeared in The Best American Poetry 2010 anthology series edited by David Lehman and Amy Gerstler, following initial publication in The American Poetry Review. His poem "Wishing Well" appeared in The Best American Poetry 2014, guest edited by Terrance Hayes, following initial publication in Painted Bride Quarterly. Pardlo serves as an Associate Editor for the literary journal Callaloo. He has led writing workshops for the PEN American Center, American Poetry Review / Young Voices Program, The Frost Place Conference, Callaloo Creative Writer’s Workshop, and Jamaica’s Calabash International Literary Festival, among others. He is currently a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University. Pardlo has previously taught at the George Washington University, Medgar Evers College, The New School University, John Jay College, Hunter College, and NYU.)

The Best Poem Of Gregory Pardlo

Epistemology of the Phone Booth

I found the scrap of City Paper
classified, the 1-900 number and photos
like candidates there, in love's voting machine.

Discomfort station. No pissoir. Hothouse maybe for
a fourteenth-year sprig: me. Light box
to slideshow the introvert
cloaked in a prepaid identity

discreet as a shirttail in the fly.
Ma Bell's shelter
was brutal & snug. I'd heard the ram's horn hum.
A hymn. Just like prayer I thought. No answer.
Clack'd the splendid tongue
and bloom!
Salutations rose like pollen, prepped me for
the inverse of police
sketch artists, the one who would evoke so I could render,
in my mind, the enigma of the wanted; one to source
the vacuum wrenching stutters like rivets

off my tongue.
Plink. Into the sewer of the mouthpiece.
Then the universal ballad of the waiting room.
Hold (me) music.

No orgone
closet. More like that other-lonely doom—the body
encapsulated, its inventory ever unknown. Dantean vestibule.
Anti-chat room.
When the genderless voice beyond
began to lavish I grew ears all over,
inner ears
swiveling from one tepid libretto to the next
tuning for some satin frequency the culture
promised until, I repent (forgive me father), the card went bust.

Gregory Pardlo Comments

Lee Mack 04 March 2016

GRACE. grace grace grace

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