Precise in the language of everyday, rich in wisdom and maturity, Joyce Sutphen’s newest collection, her eighth, speaks to her comfort with farm life, travel, aging, the distortions of memory. Sutphen is Minnesota’s poet laureate and a professor emeritus at Gustavus Adolphus College.
I wanted so badly to be good.
I wanted everything to turn out right
in the end. I wanted to go to heaven.
Whatever I thought I should lose,
I lost; whatever the cost,
I paid it. Nothing was too much.
I worked hard at letting go; I
learned the art of denial. Wine
turned into water, bread to stone.
I was the bone singing in the desert,
the gate swinging on its hinge;
I was the bell ringing and ringing.
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