American Life in Poetry: Column 782

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I’ve mentioned the anthology, Local News: Poetry About Small Towns from MWPH Books, P.O. Box 8, in Fairwater, Wisconsin. Here’s one of the many poems I’ve enjoyed, by Scott Wiggerman, who lives in New Mexico. His latest book is Leaf and Beak: Sonnets, published by purple flag, 2015.

Johnsburg

At the top of the hill, a towering
Catholic church with Gothic spires,

below, a one-pump gas station,
a beauty parlor with a picture window,

at the town’s only four-way stop sign,
a convenience store with a bike stand,

and three smoke-drenched taverns,
their bars of the same solid wood

as the church’s hard benches,
only more polished, more worn down.


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 ©2019 by Scott Wiggerman, "Johnsburg," from Local News: Poetry About Small Towns, (MWPH Books, 2019). Poem reprinted by permission of Scott Wiggerman and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2020 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.