Handspan of Red Earth: An Anthology of American Farm Poems

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Catherine Lewallen Marconi, Catherine Webster
University of Iowa Press, 1991 - Poetry - 181 pages
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Poems of farm life are very much an American tradition and, despite our industrial heritage, in some ways they depict our national dream. Distinctly apart from the English pastoral motif, these hard-edged, reflective poems of the joys, tribulations, and realizations of rural life continue a tradition which began with Bradstreet and persisted through Whittier and Frost to the various and passionate poets included in this rich anthology.

Here is contemporary poetry about the archetypal but ever-changing work of farming the American land. Catherine Marconi has included pieces from a wide variety of poets writing on the various landscapes of American farms: from the rocky New England fields through the deep topsoil of the heartland and the fecund tobacco, cotton, and vegetable lands of the South, from the hardscrabble cattle ranches of the Southwest to the verdant fields of the West. These poems, by some of our country's finest living poets, will be evocative and revealing to anyone who has ever lived or worked on a farm.

Included in the volume are poems by, among others, Galway Kinnell, Gary Soto, Dennis Schmitz, Annie Dillard, Donald Hall, Ai, Tom McGrath, Gretel Ehrlich, William Stafford, Mary Swander, Gary Snyder, Larry Levis, Maxine Kumin, William Heyen, Hayden Carruth, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Stanley Kunitz.

 

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Contents

Freedom New Hampshire Galway Kinnell I
16
The Sheep Child James Dickey I
30
For the Hog Killing Wendell Berry I
48
Fence Wire James Dickey I
60
At Nightfall Jane Hirshfield I
67
Landscape in Spring Gary Soto I
73
Bows to Drouth Gary Snyder I
79
Names of Horses Donald Hall I
87
Saint Francis and the Sow Galway Kinnell I
127
Hard Red Wheat Paul Zarzyski I
135
Hoeing Gary Soto I
142
Roots Lucille Clifton I
148
The Orchard Keeper Robert Ely I
154
The Farm David Lee I
160
Ornament Gary Short I
166
The Tumbling of Worms Stanley Kunitz I
172

Short Story Ellen Bryant Voigt I
100
The Vealers Maxine Kumin I
113

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