Charles Harper Webb
Biography of Charles Harper Webb
Charles Harper Webb is an American poet, professor, psychotherapist and former singer and guitarist. His most recent poetry collection is Shadow Ball (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009). His honors include a Whiting Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Kate Tufts Discovery Award, a Pushcart Prize and inclusion in The Best American Poetry 2006. His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including American Poetry Review, Paris Review, and Ploughshares. Webb was born in Philadelphia, and grew up in Houston. He earned his B.A. in English from Rice University, and an M.A. in English from the University of Washington, and an M.F.A. in Professional Writing and his PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern California. He teaches at California State University, Long Beach, where he received a Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievement Award and the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, and he lives in Long Beach, California.
Honors and awards
2001 Guggenheim Fellowship
1999 Felix Pollack Prize, for Liver
1998 Whiting Writer's Award
1998 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, for Reading the Water
1997 Morse Poetry Prize, for Reading the Water
Academy of American Poets Prize
Charles Harper Webb's Works:
Shadow Ball (2009)
Amplified Dog (2006)
Hot Popsicles (2005)
Tulip farms and leper colonies: poems (2001)
Reading the Water (1997)
A Weeb for All Seasons (1992)
Poetry That Heals (1991)
Everyday Outrages (1989)
Zinjanthropus Disease (1978)
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Charles Harper Webb Poems
The Death Of Santa Claus
He's had the chest pains for weeks, but doctors don't make house calls to the North Pole,
Treacherous as trap door spiders, they ambush children's innocence. "Why is there g h in light? It isn't fair!" Buddha declared the world illusory
It's okay if the world goes with Venetian; Who cares what Italians don't see?-- Or with Man's Bluff (a temporary problem Healed by shrieks and cheating)--or with date:
"Don't overdo it," Dad yelled, watching me Play shortstop, collect stamps and shells, Roll on the grass laughing until I peed my pants. "Screw him," I said, and grabbed every cowry
The Wife of the Mind
Sharecroppers' child, she was more schooled In slaughtering pigs and coaxing corn out of The ground than in the laws of Math, the rules Of Grammar. Seventeen, she fell in love
Its silver clasp looks like a man grasping his hands above his head in victory; the latches, like twin hatchbacks headed away.
The Jumbo Jet has barely shuddered off The ground, and I'm depressed. My scuba mask And fins, my fly rod and beach hat
The ticket settles on my desk: a paper tongue pronouncing "Go away;" a flattened seed from which a thousand-mile leap through the air can grow.
40-acre growth found in Michigan. — The Los Angeles Times
THE EARTH seems a desolate mother,— Betrayed like the princess of old, The ermine stripped from her shoulders, And her bosom all naked and cold.
With a Nantucket Shell
I SEND thee a shell from the ocean beach; But listen thou well, for my shell hath speech. Hold to thine ear, And plain thou’lt hear
Dum Vivimus Vigilemus
TURN out more ale, turn up the light; I will not go to bed to-night. Of all the foes that man should dread The first and worst one is a bed.
Gil, the Toreador
THE QUEEN sat in her balcony, The Loveliest of Spain; Beneath rode all the chivalry, And roses fell like rain
The ticket settles on my desk: a paper tongue
pronouncing "Go away;" a flattened seed
from which a thousand-mile leap through the air can grow.
It's pure potential: a vacation-to-be
the way an apple is a pie-to-be,
a bullet is a death-to-be. Or is the future
pressed into it inalterably—woven between