About this poet

In 1940, Pattiann Rogers was born in Joplin, Missouri. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 1961. She received her MA from the University of Houston in 1981.

She has published numerous books of poetry, including Holy Heathen Rhapdosy (Penguin, 2013); Wayfare (Penguin, 2008); Generations (Penguin, 2004); Song of the World Becoming: New and Collected Poems, 1981-2001 (Milkweed Editions, 2001); Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems (Milkweed Editions, 1994); which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; and Eating Bread and Honey (Milkweed Editions, 1997).

She has been the recipient of two NEA grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lannan Poetry Fellowship. Her poems have won several prizes, including the Tietjens Prize and the Hokin Prize from Poetry, the Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest, the Strousse Award twice from Prairie Schooner, three book awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, and four Pushcart Prizes.

She has been a visiting writer at the University of Texas, the University of Montana, and the University of Arkansas, and a member of the faculty of Vermont College and the low residency MFA program in creative writing at Pacific University. The mother of two grown sons, Rogers lives with her husband, a retired geophysicist, in Colorado.




Bibliography

Poetry

Holy Heathen Rhapdosy (Penguin, 2013)
Wayfare (Penguin, 2008)
Generations (Penguin, 2004)
Song of the World Becoming: New and Collected Poems, 1981–2001 (Milkweed Editions, 2001)
A Covenant of Seasons (Hudson Hills Press, 1998)
Eating Bread and Honey (Milkweed Editions, 1997)
Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems (Milkweed Editions, 1994)
Geocentric (Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1993)
Splitting and Binding (Wesleyan University Press, 1989)
Legendary Performance (Ion Books, 1987)
The Tattooed Lady in the Garden (Wesleyan University Press, 1986)
The Expectations of Light (Princeton University Press, 1981)


Prose

The Grand Array: Writing on Nature, Science, and Spirit (Trinity University Press, 2010)
The Dream of the Marsh Wren: Writing as Reciprocal Creation (Milkweed Editions, 1999)

Stone Bird

Pattiann Rogers, 1940

I remember you. You’re the one
who lifted your ancient bones
of fossil rock, pulled yourself free
of the strata like a plaster figure
rising from its own mold, became
flesh and feather, took wing,
arrested the sky.

You’re the one who, though marble,
floated as beautifully as a white
blossom on the pond all summer,
who, though skeletal and particled
like winter, glimmered as solid as a bird
of cut crystal in the icy trees.

You are redbird—sandstone
wings and agate eyes—at dusk.
You are greybird—polished granite
and pearl eyes—just before dawn,
midnight bird with a reflective
vacancy of heart like a mirror
of pure obsidian.

You’re the one who flew down
to that river from the heavens,
as if your form alone were the only
holy message needed. You were alabaster
then in the noonday sun.

Once I saw you rise without rising
from your prison pedestal
in the garden beneath the lime tree.
At that moment your ghost
in its haunting permeated every
regality of the forest with light,
reigned with disdain in thin air
above the mountain, sank in union
with the crosswinds of the sea.

I remember you. You’re the one
who entered in through my death
as if it were an open window
and you were the sound of the serenade
being sung outside for me, the words
of which, I know now, are of freedom
cast in stone forever.

Pattiann Rogers, Firekeeper: Selected Poems (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Pattiann Rogers. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions. www.milkweed.org.

Pattiann Rogers, Firekeeper: Selected Poems (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Pattiann Rogers. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions. www.milkweed.org.

Pattiann Rogers

Pattiann Rogers

Born in 1940, Pattiann Rogers is the author of numerous collections of poetry.

by this poet

poem
Those are my bones rifted
and curled, knees to chin,
among the rocks on the beach, 
my hands splayed beneath my skull
in the mud. Those are my rib
bones resting like white sticks
wracked on the bank, laid down,
delivered, rubbed clean
by river and snow.

Ethereal as seedless weeds
in dim sun and frost, I see
my
poem
Elf owl, cactus wren, fruit flies incubating
In the only womb they'll ever recognize.
Shadow for the sand rat, spines
And barbary ribs clenched with green wax.
Seven thousand thorns, each a water slide,
A wooden tongue licking the air dry.

Inside, early morning mist captured intact,
The taste of drizzle sucked
poem

The slender checkered beetle, pale
earth brown, sallies forth from among 
the bark canals of the oak, the eaten mar 
of the woody gall left dying.  Her spiny 
yellow hairs sparkle in the summer sun.

Lacewings, locust, and laurel loosen
cocoon, carapace, and bud, shimmy