Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout’s collection Versed won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She taught for more than twenty years at the University of California, San Diego.

Poem: ‘Hell’

Rae Armantrout, 18 July 2024

In the first placethe idea was

to gaugehow far or near

certain hotspotson my closed eyelids

were from one anotherand from me –

to put them in perspective.

Some part of meis still dealing with this,

but now ‘Edgyand Cerebral’

have been addedto my favourites

along with ‘Hilariousand Heartbreaking’.

The new jobis to hitch

‘opposites’to a central pivot.


Two Poems

Rae Armantrout, 25 January 2024

The Blue Car

Rain began to speckle the pavementThat is known as an establishing shot.


We claim things happenin the pastto prove we have survived them.

The idea is that the past is sealedand cannot be tampered with –

like an ideaor a locket.


We count to oneon a locket

while a blue car passesheaded west.


The constant rain stoppedand the clouds liftedfor a moment.

Time, intention, a...

Three Poems

Rae Armantrout, 20 October 2022


‘You are not your thoughts.’

Find the still point,the naked bulb,

the white peonyunfolding

one moreinner ring

while not beingexactly open.

An animal needssomething to watch.


What I sawas a formation

of fighter jetsin the distance

was, instead,a blow-up

of rivetson a panel truck.


Thinking is hard,but thoughts just happen

because of the nearrhymingof sparks.

Story Line

Kids like talking...

Poem: ‘Fortune’

Rae Armantrout, 24 February 2022


It could have started like this.My mother took me to fabric shops when I was a kid.I would wander through the tall bolts dazed, readingfortunes in the colours.


Whitepapier-mâchéof the mock-orange floweron its many stems.

Lavender, as an afterthought, necrotic –carried interest.

Ochrelike sunset in LA,like dehydration.

The popular mauve-greywhich blendsindifference with...

Poem: ‘Too Much Information’

Rae Armantrout, 22 April 2021



the backwards-facing S,a decoration in the iron rail,was here when I came,with its extra curlicuesat each end,and a miniatureversion of itselflike a foetusaffixed to its middle.

I’m telling you more, perhaps,than you need to know.

The sun on...

Where Things Get Fuzzy: Rae Armantrout

Stephanie Burt, 30 March 2017

By​ 1979, when Rae Armantrout published her second book, The Invention of Hunger, with Lyn Hejinian’s Tuumba Press, she was already what much of the literary world would soon learn to...

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