American Life in Poetry: Column 389

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Perhaps by the time this column appears, our economy will have improved and people who want to work can find good work. Minnie Bruce Pratt, who lives in Syracuse, N.Y., has a new book, mentioned below, in which there are a number of poems about the difficulties of finding work and holding on to it. Here’s an example:

Temporary Job

Leaving again. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be
grieving. The particulars of place lodged in me,
like this room I lived in for eleven days,
how I learned the way the sun laid its palm
over the side window in the morning, heavy
light, how I’ll never be held in that hand again.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2011 by Minnie Bruce Pratt from her most recent book of poems, Inside the Money Machine, Carolina Wren Press, 2011. Reprinted by permission of Minnie Bruce Pratt and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2018 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.