Wednesday, April 30, 2014

National Poetry Month: Week 5

For the final week of National Poetry Month, Clarence Major shares his poem "Evening Newspaper" from his most recent poetry collection, DOWN AND UP (2013, pg. 46).

Evening Newspaper

Going home on the subway,
when you open the newspaper
you'd just picked up
at the corner
before coming down the steps,
there is always the person
next to you slyly reading
over your shoulder
and getting visibly upset
when you turn the page
before they finish the story
about some woman in Mexico or Brazil
discovering the Virgin's face in a mango
or seeing it in a puddle of water
in the road to the junkyard
or the Granada dig uncovering the bones
of people fallen in their tracks
during attacks in a medieval street battle.
Keep turning.

About the Poem
The poem is based on my experience living and teaching in Manhattan when I rode the subway a lot. If you have nothing to do while sitting on the subway it can be pretty boring. On such occasions I always had something to read--a book, a magazine or newspaper. The event described in the poem occasionally happened to me

About the Poet
Clarence Major, prizewinning poet, painter, and novelist, is the author of twelve previous books of poetry. As a finalist for a National Book Award he won a Bronze Medal for his book Configurations: New and Selected Poems, 1958–1998. Among other awards he is also the recipient of a National Council on the Arts Award, a New York Cultural Foundation Award, and the Stephen Henderson Poetry Award for Outstanding Achievement, all three for poetry. His poetry has appeared in hundreds of anthologies and periodicals, in English and in foreign languages, such as several of the Norton anthologies, including Postmodern Poetry in America; American Poetry Review; Kenyon Review; Callaloo; El Corno Emplumado (Mexico); East and West (India); Tuatara (Turkey); Vinduet (Norway); and Literatura na Swiecie (Poland). He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Davis.

For more information about National Poetry month, visit For more poetry from the UGA Press, visit the poetry section of our website here.