David Tucker is the deputy managing editor at the Newark Star-Ledger, in Newark, N.J, where he was part of the Ledger team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. Previously, he worked as managing editor at United Press International, and served as sports editor and later city editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer.  He brings a journalist’s sensibility for clear language and visual immediacy to his poetry as well. Two years ago he told the American Journalism Review, when asked about his poems:  “You can’t always sit down and dictate to yourself where you’re going with poetry. Journalism is about what the facts tell us. Poetry’s about what the facts don’t tell us.”

Tucker’s  collection Late For Work (Mariner Books, 2006), which evokes scenes from the newsroom in poems such as “City Editor Looking for News,” won the Katherine Bakeless Poetry Prize in 2005. For his 2008 reading at the New Jersey Center for the Book, 260 copies of the following poem were reprinted for distribution; Tucker gladly gave us permission to bring it to WVFC.

Women Of My Childhood

The women of my childhood are waiting for life to get better,

waiting in beat up cars under slow red lights in July,

dusty stuffed animals in the back window

and animal crackers strewn on the car seat, deep circles

under red eyes. They are bringing in the sheets

from the clothesline after dark, they are walking

to the barn before sunrise, the milk pail squeaks

as it swings from their hands, they are dying of hard work

and too much childbirth at 19, they are waking

with a yawn so tired you can hear it halfway to town;

husbands dead and the money gone, they are tottering

out the house trailer ready for the night shift at the hospital.

They are sewing at midnight, they are mopping while feeding

the child who screams in the high chair and they are feeding

the grandchild in the high chair and the grandfather on the deathbed,

they are working at Seven-Eleven, their names are written on shirt pockets.

They are shelling peas under the oak it’s 99 degrees in the shade,

they are churning butter in the breezeway, sweat rills their foreheads.

They are waiting in rattling cars under slow red lights

they are rubbing their eyes, pressing fingers down on that ache

on the bridge of the nose, they are taking a deep breath

as the light over the road goes green.

 

To see a short NJN video on David Tucker, please click here.

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  • Wednesday 5: 5 Poets I love « Elizabeth Willse: Writer For Hire April 27, 2011 at 4:16 am

    […] David Tucker- I got to know David Tucker and his poetry when he was working with my dad at the Star-Ledger. […]

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  • WVFC Poetry Friday- David Tucker « Elizabeth Willse July 10, 2009 at 9:31 am

    […] WVFC Poetry Friday- David Tucker David Tucker is the deputy managing editor at the Newark Star-Ledger, in Newark, N.J, where he was part of the Ledger team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. Previously, he worked as managing editor at United Press International, and served as sports editor and later city editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He brings a journalist’s sensibility for clear language and visual immediacy to his poetry as well. Two years ago he told the American Journalism Review, when asked about his poems: “You can’t always sit down and dictate to yourself where you’re going with poetry. Journalism is about what the facts tell us. Poetry’s about what the facts don’t tell us.” Read the poem and see a video at Women’s Voices For Change. […]

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