Ann Townsend

(1962 / Pennsylvania / United States)

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Ann Townsend was born in Pittsburgh, raised in Pennsylvania and New Orleans, and earned her BA from Denison University and her MA and PhD in English literature from The Ohio State University. Townsend’s work fuses pastoral, domestic, and metaphysical concerns in verse that is often described as formally subtle and acute. She has cited Andrew Marvell, James Thomson, and John Clare as major ... more »

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Best Poem of Ann Townsend


The old bridle hanging from a hook
in the new barn.

Its seams frosted with mildew
from the rain.
A line of sweat at the cavesson.
In the corners of the bit,

the green alfalfa leavings.
I used to warm it
in my hand, those winter
afternoons, so her mouth

would taste me first.
Now another horse bobs
and ducks against my bridling.
Wants a peppermint.

Bites the hand
and will not jump the ditch,
shears at speed away
from the sudden plastic bag

in the field.
How sentimentally
the old leather reins hang,
draping no...

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