Biography of Josephine Jacobsen
Josephine Jacobsen (19 August 1908 – 9 July 2003) was an American poet, short story writer, and critic. She was appointed the twenty-first Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1971.
Born in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, she moved with her family to New York at a young age. When she was fourteen, she moved to Maryland where she lived for the rest of her life. Jacobsen served as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress from 1971 to 1973 and as honorary consultant in American letters from 1973 to 1979. She served as member of both the literature panel for the National Endowment of the Arts and of the poetry committee of Folger Library.
She was a prolific writer of poems and short-stories into her ninth decade. Joseph Brodsky praised her poetry for its "reserve, stoic timbre, and its high precision" while William Meredith called her "post-cocious" for her prolific writing late in life.
Jacobsen is the author of several collections of poetry and prose. Among her awards are an Academy of American Poets fellowship and the 1997 Poets' Prize for In the Crevice of Time. She received honorary doctorates from Goucher College, The College of Notre Dame in Maryland, Towson State University, and Johns Hopkins University. She was inducted into The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1994 and received the Robert Frost Medal for her Lifetime of achievement in poetry.
Jacobsen was also a fan of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team and wrote poems on her love of baseball.
Josephine Jacobsen Poems
At night, alone, the animals came and shone. The darkness whirled but silent shone the animals: The lion the man the calf the eagle saying
In The Crevice Of Time
For Elliott Coleman The bison, or tiger, or whatever beast hunting or hunted, and the twiggy hunter
We Pray Most Earnestly
We pray most earnestly: our breath goes up, to Jesus and his family. Father, mother; sometimes St. Joseph and the Saints get into it: Listen to our petition.
Cul de Sac
In the grassplot's center was a bed of red roses, A circle in a pear; round-eyed and fragrant The great tame blossoms loaded the noon
Let Each Man Remember
There is a terrible hour in the early morning When men awake and look on the day that brings The hateful adventure, approaching with no less certainty Than the light that grows, the untroubled bird that sings.
Language As An Escape From The Discrete
I came upon two wasps with intricate legs all occupied. If it was news communicated, or if they mated or fought, it was difficult to say of that clasp.
Never can spring be known so well As in this wicked dark December, Nor touched—all emerald and limber— As in this winter citadel.
The Sea Fog
It was sudden. That slightly heaving hotel, from a folder, was there one instant: through the glass a bloodorange ball just diving, a pure blue desert of dusk
One day she fell in love with its heft and speed. Tough, lean,
The old lady walking, wears gloves. It is a shady 93 and the dogs' tongues drip. The old gentleman under the dazed tree wears a jacket and, yes, a vest, and shined black shoes. It is enough to break out flags about.
The Birthday Party
The sounds are the sea, breaking out of sight, and down the green slope the children's voices that celebrate the fact of being eight.
The old lady walking, wears gloves. It is a shady
93 and the dogs' tongues drip. The old gentleman under
the dazed tree wears a jacket and, yes, a vest, and shined
black shoes. It is enough to break out flags about.
Surely they must die, of sunstroke, one, and of suffocation, the other.
In the meantime, what a fury of purpose and coolness:
who would trust the surgeon-of-crisis, in shorts?