Not to Know How to Live
All modesty is false modestywhen it comes to poems, or to the silencein which poems begin before they are words,when they are still daisies at the foot of a dead godin an anonymous painting, thirteenth century. Not to know how to liveis one thing, and nothing to be ashamed 0f.But not to know how to sit in front of those daisieswith tears in my eyes: what a waste that would be.
Jim Moore is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently Prognosis from Graywolf Press published in November of 2021. His poems have recently appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, The Nation and Poetry London. Work is forthcoming in The Threepenny Review and The Sun. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for his poetry. For many years he taught poetry at The Colorado College and in the MFA program at Hamline University in St. Paul. He and his wife, the photographer JoAnn Verburg, live in Minneapolis and Spoleto, Italy.
“[In Prognosis,] Moore isn't telling readers to look away from contemporary realities, but rather to invest care and compassion in the present moment and the people within arm's reach. . . . In Moore's work, readers will discover that clarity and mystery are not mutually exclusive as they encounter luminous images packed with the complexity of life deeply lived.”
—Elizabeth Hoover, Star Tribune
“There is a stunning clarity to Jim Moore’s latest poems. . . . Poised at the threshold of mortality, ‘unencumbered / by thoughts of what might have been,’ these poems hover between transient beauty and transfigured time; they embrace and let go of ‘what was never ours to keep.’”
“These are poems of arresting lyric reportage; whimsical, tragic, a touch fantastical.”
—Daisy Fried, The New York Times Book Review