Stephen Yenser

(1941 / Kansas / United States)

Stephen Yenser
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Stephen Yenser (born 1941 Wichita, Kansas) is an American poet and literary critic who has published two acclaimed volumes of verse, as well as books on James Merrill, Robert Lowell, and an assortment of contemporary poets. With J.D. McClatchy, he is co-literary executor of the James Merrill estate and co-editor of four volumes of Merrill's work.
Yenser graduated from the University of Wisconsin, studying with James Merrill in 1967 on one of the rare occasions when the poet taught. Merrill dedicated to Yenser his final, posthumous collection, A Scattering of Salts (1995).
Yenser is Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at the University of California, Los ... more »

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Best Poem of Stephen Yenser

Carnal Knowledge

Now LeRoy on the kill room floor
Was almost larger than life.
Mondays the green fatigues he wore
Had creases sharp as the knife

That was his very bread and butter,
And his face was hand-carved ebony.
For the days the new boy with the stutter
Stayed out of LeRoy's way.

Later that summer he learned to tell
(After LeRoy had his fun)
A skinned pizzle from a skinned tail
And not to grind the one

Into the dogfood mix he'd pour
In boxes, freeze in lots.
He'd scoop up cheeks, sweet and sour
As rotting apricots,

And fill each barrel ...

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