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Stephen Dunn

Stephen DunnStephen Dunn (born 1939) is an American poet and educator. Dunn has written fifteen collections of poetry. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his 2001 collection, Different Hoursand has received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other awards are three National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, Guggenheim Fellowship, and Rockefeller Foundations Fellowship. A collection of essays about Dunn’s poetry was published in 2013. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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This bio information is reblogged from Friday Favorites June 12, 2015. The poem I featured was A Secret Life. A week later on June 16 I added The Unsaid. There is just something about Dunn’s work that feels so familiar to me. Especially his poems about marriage relationships. I hope you like this one, too.

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couple crisis

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After the Argument

Whoever spoke first would lose something,
that was the stupid
unspoken rule.

The stillness would be a clamor, a capo
on a nerve. He’d stare
out the window,

she’d put away dishes, anything
for some noise. They’d sleep
in different rooms.

The trick was to speak as if you hadn’t
spoken, a comment
so incidental

it wouldn’t be counted as speech.
Or to touch while passing,
an accident

of clothing, billowy sleeve against
rolled-up cuff. They couldn’t
stand hating

each other for more than one day.
Each knew this, each knew
the other’s body

would begin to lean, the voice yearn
for the familiar confluence
of breath and syllable.

When? Who first? It was Yalta, always
on some level the future,
the next time.

This time
there was a cardinal on the bird feeder;
one of them was shameless enough
to say so, the other pleased

to agree. And their sex was a knot
untying itself, a prolonged
coming loose.

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Picture Credit: www.espreso.rs

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