Don Welch lives in Nebraska and is one of those many talented American poets who have never received as much attention as they deserve. His poems are distinguished by the meticulous care he puts into writing them, and by their deep intelligence. Here is Welch's picture of a 14-year-old, captured at that awkward and painfully vulnerable step on the way to adulthood.
To be shy,
to lower your eyes
after making a greeting.
wherever you go
you'll be called on,
whoever you're near
will ask you,
the softer sides of the air
in rooms filled with angers,
in transparent slips
are sheerer than membranes.
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)2008 by Don Welch. Reprinted from "When Memory Gives Dust a Face," by Don Welch, published by Lewis-Clark Press, 2008, by permission of Don Welch and the publisher. Introduction copyright (c) 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.
Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:
- The Ted Kooser Page: Links to online Interviews, Recordings, Poetry, Prose, Reviews, Photos and more;
- American Life in Poetry #199: Cornelius Eady;
- American Life in Poetry #166: R. S. Gwynn;
- American Life in Poetry #165: Robert Bly;
- American Life in Poetry #164: Ellen Bass;
- American Life in Poetry #146: Marvin Bell;
- American Life in Poetry #107: Naomi Shihab Nye;
- American Life in Poetry #70: Sharon Olds;
- American Life in Poetry #68: Wendell Berry;
- American Life in Poetry #26: Claudia Emerson;
- More from American Life in Poetry >>>