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A New Poet by Linda Pastan


A New Poet

by Linda Pastan

(published in Poetry 180, edited by Billy Collins, and here)


Finding a new poet

is like finding a new wildflower

out in the woods. You don’t see


its name in the flower books, and

nobody you tell believes

in its odd color or the way


its leaves grow in splayed rows

down the whole length of the page. In fact

the very page smells of spilled


red wine and the mustiness of the sea

on a foggy day—the odor of truth

and of lying.


And the words are so familiar,

so strangely new, words

you almost wrote yourself, if only


in your dreams there had been a pencil

or a pen or even a paintbrush,

if only there had been a flower.

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