Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Short History of the Apple, a poem by Dorianne Laux.

Post 636 - Dorianne Laux was born in Augusta, Maine in 1952. She worked as a sanatorium cook, a gas station manager, a maid, and a donut holer before receiving a BA in English from Mills College in 1988. She’s the author of Facts About the Moon (W. W. Norton, 2005), which was the recipient of the Oregon Book Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Among her other collections, What We Carry (1994), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Awake (1990), was nominated for the San Francisco Bay Area Book Critics Award for Poetry. Among her other awards are a Pushcart Prize, an Editor's Choice III Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Laux has taught at the University of Oregon's Program in Creative Writing. She now lives, with her husband, poet Joseph Millar, in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she serves on the faculty of North Carolina State University's MFA Program. Dorianne Laux’s fifth collection,The Book of Men, is now available from W.W. Norton & Company.

A Short History of the Apple by Dorianne Laux

Teeth at the skin. Anticipation.
Then flesh. Grain on the tongue.
Eve's knees ground in the dirt
of paradise. Newton watching
gravity happen. The history
of apples in each starry core,
every papery chamber's bright
bitter seed. Woody stem
an infant tree. William Tell
and his lucky arrow. Orchards
of the Fertile Crescent. Bushels.
Fire blight. Scab and powdery mildew.
Cedar apple rust. The apple endures.
Born of the wild rose, of crab ancestors.
The first pip raised in Kazakhstan.
Snow White with poison on her lips.
The buried blades of Halloween.
Budding and grafting. John Chapman
in his tin pot hat. Oh Westward
Expansion. Apple pie. American
as. Hard cider. Winter banana.
Melt-in-the-mouth made sweet
by hives of Britain's honeybees:
white man's flies. O eat. O eat.

See and hear her read her wonderful poetry at

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