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Renate Wood

Poet Renate Wood was a refugee in Austria as a child. She is a winner of the Emily Clark Balch Prize for her contributions to VQR, and was a recipient of a Yaddo Fellowship. Her son Chris is a founding member of jazz trio Medeski, Martin and Wood. She passed away in 2007 from complications from ALS.


The Dump

"A poem's meaning is a poem's complaint." (Harold Bloom) We weren't allowed to play there. It was filthy, my mother sternly said, scrubbing grimy sickles from under our nails. You could catch polio. From her lips the o's rolled dow [...]


They never tell that she had children, supple as lambs, that she tended a garden and, when he played his instrument, looked at her own face in the water pail, dreamed of those words overheard at the well. Old women's words, women who kicked t [...]

Night Cows

They enter the house after dark now that the children are gone. Lying next to my husband, who turns in his sleep, I can hear them: black bulks shifting in the abandoned rooms, their mournful mooing so low I have to lift my head to know no [...]


Spring 2002 | Poetry

That moment looking up from my desk on an August afternoon with the sun's wheel turning high over the cottonwoods and a white butterfly making its sweeping rounds from the spirea to the lavender and the meadow sage, around and around in high-archin [...]


Spring 2002 | Poetry

Cleaning my desk today: the two blue jay feathers inside an envelope I had taken to Germany for my mother before she died— She didn't remember the jays, which had come to her feeder in this country. Didn't remember their flash of unearthly blue. [...]