“A New Poet” by Linda Pastan
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
A New Poet
Finding a new poet is like finding a new wildflower out in the woods. You don't see its name in the flower books, and nobody you tell believes in its odd color or the way its leaves grow in splayed rows down the whole length of the page. In fact the very page smells of spilled red wine and the mustiness of the sea on a foggy day - the odor of truth and of lying. And the words are so familiar, so strangely new, words you almost wrote yourself, if only in your dreams there had been a pencil or a pen or even a paintbrush, if only there had been a flower.
from Heroes In Disguise, 1991
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY
Copyright 1991 by Linda Pastan.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. from Heroes In Disguise. Copyright 1991 by Linda Pastan. For further permissions information, contact Linda Pastan, [email protected].
About the Poet
Poet Linda Pastan (1932- ) was raised in New York City but has lived for most of her life in Potomac, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. In her senior year at Radcliffe College, Pastan won the Mademoiselle poetry prize (Sylvia Plath was the runner-up). Immediately following graduation, however, she decided to give up writing poetry in order to concentrate on raising her family. After ten years at home, her husband urged her to return to poetry. Since the early 1970s, Pastan has produced quiet lyrics that focus on themes like marriage, parenting, and grief. She is interested in the anxieties that exist under the surface of everyday life.
Learn more about Linda Pastanat The Poetry Foundation.