Search more than 3,000 biographies of contemporary and classic poets.

Sampson Starkweather


Sampson Starkweather is the author of PAIN: The Board Game (Third Man Books, 2015) and The First Four Books of Sampson Starkweather (Birds, LLC, 2013). He is the founding editor of the independent poetry press Birds, LLC. He works for the Center for the Humanities at the City University of New York Graduate Center and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

By This Poet


Flowers of Rad

I want to write a poem as long as California
like lying on a couch forever
as a serious man takes notes on your dreams in a little book
maybe I mean I want to talk forever
but is there even a difference anyway
like my uncle who went walking
and never stopped
or that day on the LA Freeway
when a horse got loose, people freaking out 
cars honking and skidding 
and me and my sister rooting for the horse
who I still imagine, 20 years later
trotting around the LA Freeway
a living argument against time
as people drive right past her
without even noticing a horse 
she keeps on, at home in the gridlock
a phenomenon in the smog
we want to think she is looking for something
but she is past panic now
content, her heart a part of that freeway
unaware that I 
am the one telling this story
and in this version
no one listens to anyone’s dreams
and that couch is the one we broke off on
while your parents were gone 
blood on the cushion 
which wouldn’t come out
no matter what we tried
so we gave up 
and just laid there, sweating
in the bliss of thinking nothing
and somewhere 
a startled horse 
is not smashed by a semi
on the LA Freeway
on a summer day in 1988