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Mark Strand

Born on Prince Edward Island (1934–2014), Mark Strand‘s family moved around and lived in Latin America for much of his adolescence. He went to Yale to study painting, but while there developed an obsession for poetry.

Strand’s spare, deceptively simple investigations of rootlessness, alienation and the ineffable strangeness of life made him one of America’s most hauntingly meditative poets. He was named poet laureate of the United States in 1990 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1999 for his collection “Blizzard of One.”  Strand made an early impression with short, often surreal lyric poems that imparted an unsettling sense of personal dislocation — what the poet and critic Richard Howard called “the working of the divided self.”

Strand said, “We feel we have to know what things mean, to be on top of this and that. I don’t think it’s human, you know, to be that competent at life. That attitude is far from poetry.” (from The Writer’s Almanac, 5/20/15)

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I LOVE Mark Strand. He is just so down-to-earth. This little poem of his tickled me so when I read it. Took me a minute to get my mind around it until I finally started watching him walk across a field in my head! I thought, “My gosh! I guess we ALL play a part in that!” 😀

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Keeping Things Whole

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.
`
When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.
`
We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.
`

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Picture Source: Indiana Public Media
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