© Mark Schaefer


The facts are these: Mary Jo Bang has published five books of poetry, including Louise in Love, The Eye Like a Strange Balloon and Elegy. Her abecedarius The Bride of E will be issued by Graywolf Press at the end of September.  She lives in St. Louis, Mo., where she is director of the creative writing program at Washington University. Beyond the facts are the gift of Mary Jo Bang’s courage, intelligence and heart in each word she sets to paper. (At the bottom of this post, watch her share a spare gift at the AWP conference a few years back.)

This is a poet who lives in this world with eyes wide open, demanding sight and witness of herself and offering it to her readers.

Beast Brutality

The caption read,
“He and she standing quietly next to a dog.”

The prompt queen sat with her crown on,
The insets between each Gothic arch providing a measure

Of what can be
Done with architecture.

She said, “We built it long ago.
And then we knocked it down.”

And then she looked away.
“And then we looked away.”

First published in The New Yorker.

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