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Poets Write Personal Prose

Reflections on parents, pacifism, gardening, and more.

Ackerman, Diane
Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden
From a stream-of-consciousness style journal she kept while recovering from an accident, the poet and nature writer fashions a loving exploration of her garden.
 
Hall, Donald
Eagle Pond
A collection of essays about life on Eagle Pond Farm, the family home where Hall visited his grandparents as a young boy, lived with his wife Jane Kenyon until her death, and continues to live and write about.
 
Hampl, Patricia
The Florist's Daughter
Set in St. Paul, Minnesota in the 1930s, Hampl tells her parents' story, at once intensely personal and surprisingly universal.
 
Kunitz, Stanley
The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden
The 99-year-old poet collaborated with Genine Lentine on this beautiful volume in which his two great passions, poetry and gardening, are illustrated with photos of the legendary garden at his seaside home.
 
Merwin, W.S.
Summer Doorways: A Memoir
Told with the wonder of youth, Merwin recounts the summer of his 21st birthday, in 1948, when he was hired to tutor two boys on the Riviera, where he meets a group of European and American literati, hobnobbing and living off each other in post-War II Europe.
 
Orr, Gregory
The Blessing: A Memoir
Orr's memoir focuses on six youthful years, from a tragic accident at age 12, to his search for meaning and participation in the Civil Rights Movement. He explores poetry as a method for transcending pain and creating order out of life's chaos.
 
Stafford, Kim
Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford
Kim Stafford writes an elegant tribute to his father, William Stafford, who was a conscientious objector during World War II. Later as a teacher and father, the elder Stafford approached what he called "the great emergency of being alive" with profound quiet and hard-won reconciliation.
 
Stafford, William
Every War Has Two Losers: William Stafford on Peace and War
From World War I until his death in 1993, American poet and pacifist William Stafford remained convinced that wars don't work. This inspiring volume collects journal excerpts, pacifist poems, interviews, and an account of his own near-hanging at the hands of American patriots.
 
Stern, Gerald
What I Can't Bear Losing: Notes from a Life
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Stern offers rambles that combine autobiography and meditation.
 
Wormser, Baron
The Road Washes Out in Spring: A Poet's Memoir of Living Off the Grid
On a discontinued road in the Maine woods, in a small house with no furnace, hot water, or flush toilets, a poet, his wife, and their children live as authentically as they can.
 

Updated: March 21, 2012