Biography of Mark Strand
Mark Strand (born 11 April 1934) is a Canadian-born American poet, essayist, and translator. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1990. Since 2005–06, he has been a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
Strand was born on Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada. His early years were spent in North America, while much of his teenage years were spent in South and Central America. In 1957, he earned his B.A. from Antioch College in Ohio. Strand then studied painting under Josef Albers at Yale University where he earned a B.F.A in 1959. On a Fulbright Scholarship, Strand studied nineteenth-century Italian poetry in Italy during 1960–1961. He attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa the following year and earned a Master of Arts in 1962. In 1965 he spent a year in Brazil as a Fulbright Lecturer.
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Mark Strand's Works:
Many of Strand's poems are nostalgic in tone, evoking the bays, fields, boats, and pines of his childhood on Prince Edward Island. Strand has been compared to Robert Bly in his use of surrealism, though he attributes the surreal elements in his poems to an admiration of the works of Max Ernst, Giorgio de Chirico, and Rene Magritte. Strand's poems use plain and concrete language, usually without rhyme or meter. In a 1971 interview, Strand said, "I feel very much a part of a new international style that has a lot to do with plainness of diction, a certain reliance on surrealist techniques, and a strong narrative element."
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Mark Strand Poems
Keeping Things Whole
In a field I am the absence of field.
I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets. I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road. At night I turn back the clocks; ......
A Piece Of The Storm
From the shadow of domes in the city of domes, A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up From your book, saw it the moment it landed.
The Everyday Enchantment Of Music
A rough sound was polished until it became a smoother sound, which was polished until it became music.
Lines For Winter
Tell yourself as it gets cold and gray falls from the air that you will go on walking, hearing
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.
When you see them tell them I am still here, that I stand on one leg while the other one dreams, that this is the only way,
The Coming Of Light
Even this late it happens: the coming of love, the coming of light. You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves, stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
The Continuous Life
What of the neighborhood homes awash In a silver light, of children hunched in the bushes, Watching the grown-ups for signs of surrender, Signs that the irregular pleasures of moving
For Jessica, My Daughter
Tonight I walked, lost in my own meditation, and was afraid, not of the labyrinth
Coming To This
We have done what we wanted. We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry of each other, and we have welcomed grief and called ruin the impossible habit to break.
You sit in a chair, touched by nothing, feeling the old self become the older self, imagining only the patience of water, the boredom of stone. You think that silence is the extra page,
From The Long Sad Party
Someone was saying something about shadows covering the field, about how things pass, how one sleeps towards morning and the morning goes.
Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end, Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like When he's held by the sea's roar, motionless, there at the end, Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he'll never go back.
When you see them
tell them I am still here,
that I stand on one leg while the other one dreams,
that this is the only way,
that the lies I tell them are different
from the lies I tell myself,
that by being both here and beyond
I am becoming a horizon,