Beginning writers often tell me their real lives aren’t interesting enough to write about, but the mere act of shaping a poem lifts its subject matter above the ordinary. Here’s Natasha Trethewey, who served two terms as U. S. Poet Laureate, illustrating just what I’ve described. It’s from her book Domestic Work, from Graywolf Press. Trethewey lives in Georgia.
We mourn the broken things, chair legs
We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetryis made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2000 by Natasha Trethewey, “Housekeeping,” from Domestic Work, (Graywolf Press, 2000). Poem reprinted by permission of Natasha Trethewey and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant inPoetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.