It is classic American,
speech, thoughts, worries, vision -
via Jamaica and Russia.
So what does it really mean?
- Louis Simpson
It's a classic American scene--
a car stopped off the road
and a man trying to repair it.
The woman who stays in the car
in the classic American scene
stares back at the freeway traffic.
They looked suprised, and ashamed
to be so helpless. . .
let down in the middle of the road!
To think their car would do this!
They look like mountain people
whoes son has gone against the law.
But every night they set out food
and the robber goes skulking back to the trees.
That's how it is with the car. . .
it's theirs, they're stuck with it.
Now they know what it's like to sit
and see the world go whizzing by.
In the fume of carbon monoxide and dust
they are not such good Americans
as they thought they were.
The feeling of being left out
through no falt of your own, is common.
That's why I say, an American classic.
Imagining a renewed role for poetry in the national discourse, and a new canon.
by Tony Hoagland.
Here are TONY HOAGLAND’S twenty poems: Twenty-First. Night. Monday., by Anna Akhmatova God’s Justice, by Anne Carson memory, by Lucille Clifton A Man and a Woman, by Alan Feldman America, by Allen Ginsberg Bamboo and a Bird, by Linda Gregg A Sick Child, by Randall Jarrell Black People & White People Were Said, by Kerry Johannsen Topography, by Sharon Olds Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car, by Dan Pagis Merengue, by Mary Ruefle Ballad of Orange and Grape, by Muriel Rukeyser Waiting for Icarus, by Muriel Rukeyser American Classic, by Louis Simpson The Geraniums, by Genevieve Taggard Song of Speaks-Fluently, by Speaks-Fluently Traveling Through The Dark, by William Stafford When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer, by Walt Whitman Our Dust, by C. D. Wright