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James Applewhite

James Applewhite is professor emeritus of creative writing at Duke University.


Beyond the Romantic Destination

Why has the landscape always to be leading, Spelling with wind-sibilancies a suspended meaning, Insinuating with wire-tangled twigs the thorn Of an archaic script, bark like old iron Gating a road that goes to the horizon, A tree the Lost City's c [...]

The War Against Nature

On the roof of my father's station During World War Two, a one-room tower Was built all windows, with phone And identification manual. Quicker Than any of the men, I'd see the plane And know its type, call out its name.   Heat ponded that wet [...]


Green hens perching the pole  Of a row, concentric wings Fly you down into soil.   You catch the rain like rings   Where a pine stump tunnels Time backward down roots' seasonings. If roots rot to dark channels  Mining the fores [...]

The Scene

I wrestle the American Actual: legs, oysters. Huge signboards from close up at night. I went to the dump, as if to weigh and count those flies like pebbles, black as crows; unloaded the refuse of our past, waved goodbye to a brassiere as the spiked w [...]