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About this poet

Born in 1968, Mark Wunderlich grew up in Fountain City, Wisconsin. He holds an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts and a BA in German Literature and English from the University of Wisconsin.

He is the author of The Earth Avails (Graywolf Press, 2014) and Voluntary Servitude (Graywolf Press, 2004). His first collection, The Anchorage (University of Massachusetts Press, 1999), won the Lambda Literary Award. As J. D. McClatchy said of Wunderlich's debut, "The Anchorage bravely takes up the raw mess of desire and pain, the cold ache of longing and loss, and in sleek and searing poems exposes the way we live now to the larger powers of the racing heart and the radiant imagination." 

He is the recipient of the Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, Writers at Work Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He has also received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference.

Wunderlich has taught at Stanford University and Barnard College and in the graduate writing programs at Sarah Lawrence College, San Francisco State University, Ohio University, and Columbia University. Wunderlich is currently a Professor of Literature at Bennington College in Vermont, where he has taught since 2004. He lives in New York's Hudson River Valley.

Winter Study

Mark Wunderlich
Two days of snow, then ice
and the deer peer from the ragged curtain of trees.

Hunger wills them, hunger
pulls them to the compass of light

spilling from the farmyard pole.
They dip their heads, hold

forked hooves
above snow, turn furred ears

to scoop from the wind
the sounds of hounds, or men.

They lap at a sprinkling of grain,
pull timid mouthfuls from a stray bale.

The smallest is lame, with a leg
healed at angles, and a fused knob

where a joint once bent.
It picks, stiff, skidding its sickening limb

across the ice's dark platter.
Their fear is thick as they break a trail

to the center of their predator's range.
To know the winter

is to ginger forth from a bed in the pines,
to search for a scant meal

gleaned from the carelessness
of a killer.

Copyright © 2012 by Mark Wunderlich. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2012 by Mark Wunderlich. Used with permission of the author.

Mark Wunderlich

Mark Wunderlich

Born in 1968, Mark Wunderlich won the Lambda Literary Award for his debut collection, The Anchorage.

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A story: There was a cow in the road, struck by a semi--
half-moon of carcass and jutting legs, eyes
already milky with dust and snow, rolled upward

as if tired of this world tilted on its side.
We drove through the pink light of the police cruiser,
her broken flank blowing steam in the air. 

Minutes later, a
poem

My privilege and my proof, pressing your eternal skin to mine—
I feel your fingers touching down on the crown of my head 

where I pray they remain during this life and in the next.  
The intricacies of your world astound me.

You flickered through the rooms where my mother