Rae Armantrout

Advent

In front of the craft shop,
a small nativity,
mother, baby, sheep
made of white
and blue balloons.

*

Sky
god
girl.

Pick out the one
that doesn’t belong.

*

Some thing

close to nothing
flat
from which,

fatherless,
everything has come.


Rae Armantrout, one of the founding members of the West Coast group of Language poets, stands apart from other Language poets in her lyrical voice and her commitment to the interior and the domestic. Her short-lined poems are often concerned with dismantling conventions of memory, pop culture, science, and mothering, and these unsparing interrogations are often streaked with wit. “You can hold the various elements of my poems in your mind at one time, but those elements may be hissing and spitting at one another,” notes Armantrout.

The author of several collections of widely anthologized poetry, Armantrout has also published a short memoir, True (1998). Her Collected Prose was published in 2007. A California native, Armantrout earned her BA at UC Berkeley—where she studied with Denise Levertov—and she received her MA at San Francisco State. She is a professor and director of the New Writing Series at UCSD.

 

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