Ohio

In 2014, Ohio established a state poet laureate position, which is currently held by Dave Lucas, who was appointed to a one-year term in 2018. Lucas is the author of Weather (VQR, 2011).

In 2018, Manuel Iris was named poet laureate of Cincinnati, Ohio. Iris will serve a two-year term.

In 2018, Damien McClendon was named poet laureate of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. McClendon will serve a two-year term.

recent & featured listings

Related Poets

Related Poems

The Movement of a Caravan over the Landscape

That we rode harder into the wind,
That the story got told,
That the broken candies were eaten first,
That they were eaten last,
That all subjects grew extinct eventually,
That in the inn I ruined our lives,
That in the barn I tried to save them,
That I failed,
That per Fitzgerald the manner remains intact for some time after
the morale cracks,
That in the interregna all suffer equally,
That the languages we are born ready to speak leave us one by one,
That unless we’re actively procreating we’re acting metaphorically,
That I’ve never been to France,
That I’ve been to Ohio,
That I remember almost nothing I did there,
That it is meaningless to say I liked that,
That emotions accumulate into a few categories,
That each new one is itself plus everything like itself,
That when animals act like people we love them more,
That when they do we want them never to stop,
That we give them the names we wish we had,
That men have children and manufacture new mothers,
That I anticipate escaping my fate or not,
That I anticipate the future by never buying groceries,
That I know the flesh is incidental but keep so many photographs,
That the story gets told,
That it was the reason for these various movements.

The Undertow

I am shown
a generosity

so muddied
at the muddy bottom

of a question I forget to ask
until it's fished out

but bloated but 
in the manner of a net 

a web of causal connections
attached to its corners

gently moving over
the surface of the water

how come the road
couldn't have stayed followed

by way of hollowed out
logs & paddles

made of pawpaw wood
rather than by the crows 

alone to the moment
when the Monongahela

the Allegheny
the Ohio meet

I hate the underside
of an idea

but I like the underside
of grass that grows

underwater
and I've seen it from there

blossom 
as if the water had suddenly

stopped
and then surged forth

from there
I can see a shoal

of tadpoles
drowning themselves

I hate the idea
of the Ohio

as a magic carpet
into the heart

of the continent
a great gift

of geography
a gleaming highway 

carrying a tide
of settlement 

and expansion but
I despise

the idea of the three rivers
as my family tree

their canals
tributaries & branches

meeting 
& later the Mississippi

by its side 
for miles

until along comes my 
baby floating 

in a basket down
the Colorado

I despise all such 
undertows

and the fact that I've never
heard steamwhistles 

or boatmen's bugles 
I've never traveled

aboard The Messenger 
The Telegraph

The Gladiator 
The Ohio Belle

or The Great Republic
nor have I put my foot 

in the Ohio
anymore than you

and the Niagara
I abhor the Niagara

in winter the 
difficult beauty

of its frozen falls
and all they've 

come to represent.

Freedom in Ohio

                        on my birthday

I want a future
making hammocks
out of figs and accidents.
Or a future quieter
than snow. The leopards
stake out the backyard
and will flee at noon.
My terror is not secret,
but necessary,
as the wild must be,
as Sandhill cranes must
thread the meadow
yet again. Thus, autumn
cautions the cold
and the wild never want
to be wild. So what
to do about the thrum
of my thinking, the dangerous
pawing at the door?
Yesterday has no harmony
with today. I bought
a wool blanket, now shredded
in the yard. I abided by
dwelling, thought nothing
of now. And now?
I’m leopard and crane,
all’s fled.