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lucindaI don’t believe I can talk about why I wrote the poem “Orogeny” without first explaining why I set myself the task of writing about mountains.  In some ways, it was a deliberate act. But in other ways, as it always is with poetry, it was about instinct and passion, about how the words felt as they stood to...

“Brief History of Midwestern Civilization” clearly has its origins in nostalgia and memories of my beloved grandfather, who ran a series of hatcheries in central Illinois, the last in tiny Graymont, ten miles from the farm I grew up on. The warmth of those memories is complicated (I hope) by my adult awareness that what seemed a mundane, sometimes boring, arduous life on the prairie, filled with hard work and smelly chickens, was also quite secure and privileged...

Jeanne Emmons's poem "Polio Water in 1955" was the James Hearst Poetry Prize winner in issue 291.2, Spring 2006.

Notes from the author:

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Jeff Knorr's poem, "Taps" won 3rd place in the 2010 James Hearst Poetry Prize. The poem appears in issue 295.2 of the North American Review.

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My love for the work of James Hearst might simply look like an instance of rooting for the home team. I grew up in Hearst country, Black Hawk County, Iowa. I’ve worked cornfields across the road, now...

Originally blogged by The Best American Poetry, April 3, 2014.

It happens I am a fool. It happens I’m rather good at being a fool. It happens I am at my foolish best in Lisbon.

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Rebecca Foust was a James Hearst Poetry Prize Finalist in 2010. 

I wrote this poem sometime in 2008, not long after I first returned to writing after a 35-year hiatus, and so it was an early experiment in sustaining a longish poem (anything over a page was long for me then) and one made of short lines organized into tercets. The length was dictated by the length of the story I wanted to tell, for this is a narrative poem based, as many of my...

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Before the poem “Last Visit,” there was a last visit. I was 24, in Illinois, where I grew up, a daughter and granddaughter of farmers, visiting from my...

FLIP (Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty), a literary festival founded by Liz Calder of Bloomsbury Publishing, recently celebrated its 12th year in Paraty, Brazil, a picturesque colonial town on the coast about halfway between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The festival pays homage to a different Brazilian writer every year and this year they honored Brazilian writer Millôr Fernandes.

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Poetry was my first genre.  The pleasures of metaphor, compression of expression, and the controlled line appealed to me in ways that prose did not, and when I first began writing—and then publishing—I never thought I would write anything but poetry.  Of course, critical essays and book reviews were part of my work, but those always felt as though they came from a different quadrant of my brain.  Poetry was my genre.

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