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D. Nurkse

D. Nurkse is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently The Fall (Knopf, 2002) and Burnt Island (Knopf, 2005). He has received the Whiting  Award, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, two grants from the New York State Foundation for the Arts, and other awards. He has also written widely on human rights.



Summer 2018 | Poetry

The election is over, but we trudge back to the phone bank with our clipboards and scripts. We can still dial the swing states. North Carolina, Florida, Nevada: Can we count on you? Have a blesséd evening!

As in the last days, no one will answer.

Lord of Childhood

Summer 2018 | Poetry

We are all enchanted. But we have to pay for it.

You know that part of town where the miners once lived? Sooty frame houses, porches whose floorboards spring up? Rusty screen doors that close with a thrum, then a series of clicks, then a squeak?

Revolution in the Past

A lover who hates herself. The summer of the great riots. The radio says it's dying of love, but it seems easier just to change the station. News of the holy market, in agony or born again. I have a lock of her hair, a little singed, as if co [...]

Letter to Ko

In the market of Totora a scribe had set up his ancient Underwood on a plank table. He offered to write a note that would reach you there, in Karia, in the high granite valley where you lay in fever. The price was a night's sleep or the li [...]


In the dark we play tag: can you see me? Can you touch me? We miss each other by inches, by the breeze: how can we miss by so little? And Father sits at the kitchen table picking at the food we should have finished. A thrush sings coldly [...]

The Wilson Avenue Kings

Autumn 2001 | Poetry

A child with glittering eyes spat on me, slashed my jacket with his boxcutterand now the cop holding him in a hammerlock ordered me: hit as hard as you want.Snow drifted in whorls in the arc of a high lamp. A dog's silhouette paced behind a frosted w [...]

North of Bethel

She honked sharply on the hairpin bend and the single lane bridge but there was no one, a spiralling seed, a rabbit watching sideways from the vetch. In the kerosene glow we undressed gingerly, scared of desire and the mattress coils. At [...]