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Karen Whitehill

My collection of poems, In Lieu of a Letter, was published in 2001 by Mt. Olive College Press.


Partial Explanation

In those days I tried to get warmth from the stars, when the sun was around all along. Home is where the tension is released. Maybe the past was sweet, I just can't recall it. Yet the sun was around all along. Measure life from survival, not from per [...]

A Matter of Life and Death

Above the River: The Complete Poems. By James Wright. Farrar, Straus & Giroux/New England. $27.95. Since his death in 1980, James Wright has been the subject of many tributes by fellow poets. Donald Hall introduces this long-awaited volume and say [...]

Children’s Rehabilitation Center

When my husband worked there we were given the use of the pool; afternoons I would bring my first son to kill time, not going in much myself, like the patients too crippled to swim. Slumped among mothers, I tried to join in their talk; my voice creak [...]

The Behavior of Matter

You're late, they said, when she finally showed up. So she told them all her excuses: the weather, the detours, the shoes that didn't fit. She went on and on, through bells, classes and lunch. Now you're not tardy, they told her, you're absent. But i [...]


Lady, I should have watered your garden—your thyme, your sage— but I was drained. Too many feeders I couldn't keep filling, the birds drifting slowly away . . . too many half-used little houses nailed up, abandoned— meanwhile tending my se [...]

A Virtuoso Versifier

The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov. Chicago. $20.00. Howard Nemerov is surely one of the most accomplished and distinguished poets of his generation. Sceptical, erudite, speculative, he has a broad range and highly polished craft, writing mostly [...]

“A Whole New Poetry”

The Dream of a Common Language. By Adrienne Rich. Norton. $9.95. Adrienne Rich began her seventh volume of poems, Diving Into the Wreck (1973), with a quote from George Eliot: "There is no private life which is not determined by a wider public [...]