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Maurice Manning

Maurice Manning
Maurice Manning
April 19, 2001 -- As part of our continuing poetry series throughout the month of April, 35-year-old poet Maurice Manning shares his work. Manning is a first-year professor at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He was born and raised in Kentucky and he has always stayed close to his home. His poetry reflects his feelings about the land the culture that surrounds him.

Last year Manning was selected for the Yale Younger Poets Series -- the longest-running poetry prize in America. Yale University Press is currently publishing Manning's first book, Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions and it should come out this spring.

audio Listen as Manning talks about his poetry for All Things Considered.

These poems are from a new series he is working on called "Bucolics:"

I drew a little line Boss
then I drew a little circle
then I spit in the dirt
and rubbed it all together
but nothing happened Boss
nothing at all so I wiped
my dirty hands on my face
and walked around bare-chested
as ever but I didn't go to the river
no I just walked around and around
the way a bird drags a bad wing Boss
and I was dragging bottom
you must have seen me there
making my dull circles walking
my little lines I had a reason Boss
you must have seen it in my eyes

she's worse than a bird
in the way she's small
and far away Boss I mean
the basket-maker's daughter
sometimes she's just one more
shadow by the river I spy
her with my hollow stick O
of all things Boss she walks
on my open hand if I close
one eye and there she is busy
as a bee in the rushes Boss
I need a helpmate I'm sure
to keep me from loafing
she's such a lovely secret
Boss I had to tell you all
about it how she swims
across my eye she's like a fish
like something silver in the water

See more NPR coverage of National Poetry Month.