Jean Valentine

(27 April 1934 / Chicago, Ill)

Jean Valentine
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Jean Valentine is an American poet, and currently the New York State Poet (2008–2010). Her poetry collection, Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965–2003, was awarded the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry.

Her most recent book Break the Glass (Copper Canyon Press, 2010) was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her first book, Dream Barker, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 1965. She has published poems widely in literary journals and magazines, including The New Yorker, and Harper's Magazine, and The American Poetry Review. Valentine was one of five poets including Charles Wright, Russell Edson, James Tate and Louise Gluck, whose work... more »

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Best Poem of Jean Valentine

Dream Barker

We met for supper in your flat-bottomed boat.
I got there first: in a white dress: I remember
Wondering if you'd come. Then you shot over the bank,
A Virgilian Nigger Jim, and poled us off
To a little sea-food barker's cave you knew.

What'll you have? you said. Eels hung down,
Bamboozled claws hung up from the crackling weeds.
The light was all behind us. To one side
In a dish of ice was a shell shaped like a sand-dollar
But worked with Byzantine blue and gold. What's that?

Well, I've never seen it before, you said,
And I don't know how...

Read the full of Dream Barker

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