Poet of the Week | Robert Penn Warren

By Administrator RSS Fri, August 17, 2007

Robert Penn Warren was born in Kentucky in 1905 and became the youngest member of a group of southern poets called the Fugitives. Warren’s poetry appeared in the group’s magazine, the Fugitive, which was published from 1922 to 1925. He studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and returned to the United States in 1930, eventually teaching at Vanderbilt, Louisiana State University, the University of Minnesota, and Yale University. Although Warren was a respected poet, his legacy is most commonly associated with fiction. His novel All the King's Men won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1947. However, he continued to write poetry and won two additional Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry, one in 1958 for Promises: Poems, 1954-1956 and another in 1979 for Now and Then: Poems, 1976-1978. In 1986, Warren was named the first U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. He passed away in 1989.



Tell Me a Story


[ A ]


Long ago, in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood
By a dirt road, in first dark, and heard
The great geese hoot northward.


I could not see them, there being no moon
And the stars sparse. I heard them.


I did not know what was happening in my heart.


It was the season before the elderberry blooms,
Therefore they were going north.


The sound was passing northward.



[ B ]


Tell me a story.


In this century, and moment, of mania,
Tell me a story.


Make it a story of great distances, and starlight.


The name of the story will be Time,
But you must not pronounce its name.


Tell me a story of deep delight.

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