Archie Randolph Ammons

(18 February 1926 – 25 February 2001 / Whiteville, North Carolina)

Archie Randolph Ammons
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Archie Randolph Ammons was an American poet. He wrote about humanity's relationship to nature in alternately comic and solemn tones.

Life

Ammons grew up on a tobacco farm near Whiteville, North Carolina, in the southeastern part of the state. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, stationed on board the U.S.S. Gunason, a battleship escort. After the war, Ammons attended Wake Forest University, majoring in biology.Graduating in 1949, he served as a principal and teacher at Hattaras Elementary School later that year and also married Phyllis Plumbo. He received an M.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

In 1964, Ammons joined the ... more »

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Best Poem of Archie Randolph Ammons

Poetics

I look for the way
things will turn
out spiralling from a center,
the shape
things will take to come forth in

so that the birch tree white
touched black at branches
will stand out
wind-glittering
totally its apparent self:

I look for the forms
things want to come as

from what black wells of possibility,
how a thing will
unfold:

not the shape on paper -- though
that, too -- but the
uninterfering means on paper:

not so much looking for the shape
as being available
to any shape that may be
summoning ...

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