Published on Academy of American Poets (

As a Father of Daughters

As a fathom of waters 
As a keeper of otters 
As a fan of the Dodgers 
As a foremost scholar 
As a leaver of mothers 
As a giver of quarters 
As a failure of rathers 
As a faithful supporter 
As we gather together 
As a fear of disorder 
As a phantom of operas 
As defender of borders 
As a frayer of wires 
As a friend of the doctor’s 
As an author of gospels 
As a field after slaughter


Copyright © 2022 by Hannah Aizenman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 1, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Poets are supposed to avoid clichés—bits of language so hackneyed as to seem drained of meaning—but I’m fascinated by what hyper-familiar turns of phrase can reveal and conceal. This poem takes as its title a common expression typically deployed for the purpose of asserting the (male) speaker’s positional identity as a claim to power and narrative control: a ‘humanizing’ rhetorical gesture that functions to delegitimize and dehumanize women. Playing with this idiom, which is also a fragment—making it a formal constraint, sounding it out, in various senses—I hoped to destabilize the imagination that engenders its usage, and destabilize that imagination’s limits.”
Hannah Aizenman


Hannah Aizenman

Hannah Aizenman holds an MFA in poetry from New York University and serves as the associate poetry editor at the New Yorker.

Date Published: 2022-03-01

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