Biography of John Ciardi
John Anthony Ciardi (June 24, 1916 – March 30, 1986) was an American poet, translator, and etymologist. While primarily known as a poet, he also translated Dante's Divine Comedy, wrote several volumes of children's poetry, pursued etymology, contributed to the Saturday Review as a columnist and long-time poetry editor, and directed the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Vermont. In 1959, Ciardi published a book on how to read, write, and teach poetry, How Does a Poem Mean?, which has proven to be among the most-used books of its kind. At the peak of his popularity in the early 1960s, Ciardi also had a network television program on CBS, Accent. Ciardi's impact on poetry is perhaps best measured through the younger poets whom he influenced as a teacher and as editor of The Saturday Review.
John Ciardi Poems
Why Nobody Pets The Lion At The Zoo
The morning that the world began The Lion growled a growl at Man. And I suspect the Lion might
About The Teeth Of Sharks
The thing about a shark is—teeth, One row above, one row beneath. Now take a close look. Do you find
Men Marry What They Need
Men marry what they need. I marry you, morning by morning, day by day, night by night, and every marriage makes this marriage new. In the broken name of heaven, in the light
Yesterday Mrs. Friar phoned.'Mr. Ciardi, how do you do?' she said. 'I am sorry to say this isn't exactly a social call. The fact is your dog has just deposited-forgive me- a large repulsive object in my petunias.'
Night after night forever the dolls lay stiff by the children's dreams. On the goose-feathers of the rich, on the straw of the poor, on the gypsy ground— wherever the children slept, dolls have been found
I did not have exactly a way of life but the bee amazed me and the wind's plenty was almost believable. Hearing a magpie laugh
What lifts the heron leaning on the air I praise without a name. A crouch, a flare, a long stroke through the cumulus of trees, a shaped thought at the sky - then gone. O rare!
The Pilot In The Jungle
Machine stitched rivets ravel on a tree Whose name he does not know. Left in the sky, He dangles from a silken cumulus (Stork's bundle upside down
Bees And Morning Glories
Morning glories, pale as a mist drying, fade from the heat of the day, but already hunchback bees in pirate pants and with peg-leg hooks have found and are boarding them
Once I had 1000 roses. Literally 1000 roses. I was working for a florist back in the shambling ‘Thirties
The catalpa's white week is ending there in its corner of my yard. It has its arms full of its own flowering now, but the least air spills off a petal and a breeze lets fall
An Apartment With A View
I am in Rome, Vatican bells tolling a windowful of God and Bernini. My neighbor, the Pope, has died and God overnight, has wept
Nothing Is Really Hard But To Be Real—
—Now let me tell you why I said that. Try to put yourself into an experimental mood. Stop right here and try to review everything you felt about that line. Did you accept it
Most Like An Arch This Marriage
Most like an arch—an entrance which upholds and shores the stone-crush up the air like lace. Mass made idea, and idea held in place. A lock in time. Inside half-heaven unfolds.
An Apartment With A View
I am in Rome, Vatican bells tolling
a windowful of God and Bernini.
My neighbor, the Pope, has died
and God overnight, has wept
black mantles over the sainted
stone age whose skirted shadows
flit through to the main cave.
I nurse a cold. It must be error