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; ......
The Everyday Enchantment Of Music
A rough sound was polished until it became a smoother sound, which was polished until it became music.
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.
Lines For Winter
Tell yourself as it gets cold and gray falls from the air that you will go on walking, hearing
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,
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,
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.
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,
The New Poetry Handbook
1 If a man understands a poem, he shall have troubles. 2 If a man lives with a poem, he shall die lonely.
For us, too, there was a wish to possess Something beyond the world we knew, beyond ourselves, Beyond our power to imagine, something nevertheless In which we might see ourselves; and this desire
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.
A white room and a party going on and I was standing with some friends under a large gilt-framed mirror that tilted slightly forward
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;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.
What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.