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About this poet

Anselm Hollo was born on April 12, 1934 in Helsinki, Finland. He wrote more than thirty books, including the essay collection Caws & Causeries and Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence: New and Selected Poems 1965-2000, which received the San Francisco Poetry Center's Book Award for 2001.

His work has been widely anthologized and translated into Finnish, French, German, Swedish, and Hungarian. His translation of Pentii Saarikoski's Trilogy received the 2004 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. He was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, two grants from The Fund for Poetry, and the Government of Finland's Distinguished Foreign Translator's Award.

A native of Helsinki, Finland, he lived in the United States since 1967, teaching poetics and translation at colleges and universities. He was a Professor of Writing and Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where he lived with his wife, visual artist Jane Dalrymple-Hollo.

Anselm Hollo died on January 29, 2013, at the age of 78.

Born Today

Anselm Hollo

     for Jane

is to be one to the one
closest to you
who shares the air
& other elements
right there    next to you

two bodies wrapped in darkness
among millions of other bodies
wrapped in darkness & smoke
war bloodshed & chaos
   voices rising out of the dirt

one to the one    without whom one
wouldn't be one
   who saves one when lost
in regions of the past
raging at bygone constellations
     pursued by a swarm of angst gnats
   who saves by her sight & sound & touch
to notice
     that gravity's strong on this planet
notice
    there's a half-ton of apples in that tree
notice   cricket jumping on cedar branch
   feline humor   magpie elegance

in sum
     this world
born not so long ago
with maybe not that far to go
     still roaming
   the contradictory corridors
of a universe or two
wind turns pages   then shuts book
he looks up   she looks up from piano keys

     hold that frame

From Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence, by Anselm Hollo, published by Coffee House Press. Copyright © 2001 Anselm Hollo. Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press. All rights reserved.

Anselm Hollo

Anselm Hollo

Anselm Hollo is the author of more than thirty books, most recently

by this poet

poem
Fought the hungry ghosts here on Earth
"What is man?" asked the King 
Alcuin’s reply: "A guest of space."   And time yes time:
The past lies before us, the future comes up from behind
Walking on Primrose Hill or Isle of Wight beaches
Iowa City streets scrambling up snow-covered deer track
To Doc Holliday’s grave
poem

Mr. K said   in times of great crudity
it is necessary   to be subtle
so please wrap around me
with awkward grace
I may have suffered some Rilke Damage
or do I just have a little trouble
with fantasy tripwires
while engrossed in the sky's lexicon
& hills like
poem
follow that airplane
of course I'm high   this is
an emergency

§

giant Scots terrier
I thought I saw was known as
Taxicab Mountain

§

brown photo   legend
"serene enjoyment" they suck
pipes bones crumbled back

§

night train whistles   stars
over a nation under
mad temporal czars

§

round lumps of cells