Biography of Timothy Steele
Timothy Steele is an American poet. Steele generally writes in meter and rhyme, and his early poems, which began appearing in the 1970s in such magazines as Poetry, The Southern Review, and X. J. Kennedy's Counter/Measures, are said to have anticipated and contributed to the revival of traditional verse associated with the New Formalism. He, however, has objected to being called a New Formalist, saying that he doesn't claim to be doing anything technically novel and that Formalism "suggests, among other things, an interest in style rather than substance, whereas I believe that the two are mutually vital in any successful poem." Notwithstanding his reservations about the term, Steele's poetry is more strictly "formal" than the work of most New Formalists in that he rarely uses inexact rhymes or metrical substitutions, and is sparing in his use of enjambment.
In addition to four collections of poems, he is the author of two books on prosody: Missing Measures, a study of the literary and historical background of modern free verse; and All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing, an introduction to English versification. Steele was an original faculty member of the West Chester University Poetry Conference, and received its Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award in 2004.
Born in Burlington, Vermont in 1948, Steele attended the city's public schools. At an early age, he became interested in poetry, including that of Robert Frost, who was appointed the state's Poet Laureate in 1961, and William Shakespeare, several of whose plays were staged each summer at a Shakespeare festival at the University of Vermont in Burlington.
Timothy Steele Poems
Toward The Winter Solstice
Although the roof is just a story high, It dizzies me a little to look down. I lariat-twirl the rope of Christmas lights And cast it to the weeping birch's crown;
The basketball you walk around the court Produces a hard, stinging, clean report. You pause and crouch and, after feinting, swoop Around a ghost defender to the hoop
Her Memory Of The Picnic
To finger-sponge crust crumbs of fruit meringue (Grass prickling through the blanket-tablecloth); To climb the shading oak; to roll and hang Inverted from a branch, as if a sloth;
Woman In A Museum
You sit, suspending your critique Of Venuses and nymphs at play, While a few scattered strollers creak Slowly across the floor's parquet.
By rights one should experience holy dread At the young woman gowned in black chiffon Who, at a mirror, slightly turns her head, Large eyes intent, and puts an earring on.
For Vikram Seth
We enter life and thus inherit The Kingdom of the human voice. The Word is Word because we share it. Wonder encourages our choice
Unsteadily, I stand against the wash Flooding in, climbing thigh, waist, rib-cage. Turning, It sweeps me, breaststroking, out on its swift Sudsy withdrawal. Greenly, a wave looms;
Votaries Of Cupid
Homage To A Carnegie Library
In the reading room A boy takes notes From a World Book volume. His school report's
Skull At The Crossroads
Your sleep is so profound This room seems a recess Awaiting consciousness. Gauze curtains, drawn around
I bring Fae flowers. When I cross the street, She meets and gives me lemons from her tree. As if competitors in a Grand Prix, The cars that speed past threaten to defeat
The Wartburg (Martin Luther 1521-22)
The garden where he broods is like a riddle. The circle of the gravel walk, The sundial which is stationed in the middle, A poppy on its hairy stalk:
Unsteadily, I stand against the wash
Flooding in, climbing thigh, waist, rib-cage. Turning,
It sweeps me, breaststroking, out on its swift
Sudsy withdrawal. Greenly, a wave looms;
I duck beneath its thundering collapse,
Emerging on the far side, swimming hard
For the more manageable, deeper waters.
How the sea elevates! Pausing to tread it
And feather-kicking its profundity,