As part of the 2020 Dear Poet project, students around the country and the world wrote letters to Ed Madden in response to a video of him reading his poem “Trough” aloud. Ed Madden wrote letters back to five of these students; their letters and his replies are included below.

Ed Madden also wrote a response to all of the participants of this year's Dear Poet project.

Dear Readers,

Thanks for writing me. It’s been such a pleasure to read everyone’s letters about my little poem, “Trough.” A lot of you asked if the poem is based on a real story. It is. When I was a little kid, there was a horse trough behind my grandma’s house that had goldfish in it. I was fascinated by it. It was magical, the way those fish would rise from the murky darkness of the water, beautiful and mysterious. Back then, when I was really little, the whole world was full of mysteries and secrets. Maybe the poem is trying to find a way to get back to that way of seeing the world. Maybe poems can do that, remind us that the whole world is full of beautiful and magical and mysterious things.


Ed Madden

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