Posts Tagged ‘Robert Hass’

Former Poet Laureate of the United States, Bob Hass, writes with his usual understated grace about his beating at the hands of riot police at an Occupy Cal demonstration in Berkeley, California last week. See the link to the New York Times article here.

‘Life, I found myself thinking as a line of Alameda County deputy sheriffs in Darth Vader riot gear formed a cordon in front of me on a recent night on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, is full of strange contingencies. ”

Highly recommended.

(Photo by Steve Rhodes.)


The New York Review of Books has published three new, previously untranslated poems by Tomas Transtromer, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature earlier this month. Click here to see the poems and an excellent bio. (You can also read more Transtromer at the Academy of American Poet’s site and at the Poetry Foundation.)

If you like these poems and wonder which of Transtromer’s books to read, see this excellent article in Slate. Slate’s top recommendation: Tomas Tranströmer: Selected Poems, 1954 – 1986, edited by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass. I have read this book and recommend it highly.

A Story

Now I will tell Meader’s story; I have a moral in view.
He was pestered by a grizzly so bold and malicious
That he used to snatch caribou meat from the eaves of the cabin.
Not only that. He ignored men and was unafraid of fire.
One night he started battering the door
And broke the window with his paw, so they curled up
With their shotguns beside them, and waited for the dawn.
He came back in the evening, and Meader shot him at close range,
Under the left shoulder blade. Then it was jump and run,
A real storm of a run: a grizzly, Meader says,
Even when he’s been hit in the heart, will keep running
Until he falls down. Later, Meader found him
By following the trail – and then he understood
What lay behind the bear’s odd behaviour:
Half of the beast’s jaw was eaten away by an abscess, and caries.
Toothache, for years. An ache without comprehensible reason,
Which often drives us to senseless action
And gives us blind courage. We have nothing to lose,
We come out of the forest, and not always with the hope
That we will be cured by some dentist from heaven.

–Csezlaw Milosz