Department of English
David Wojahn is the author of seven books of poetry and has been the recipient of many awards and prizes: the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, the William Carlos Williams Award and the Celia B. Wagner Award from the Poetry Society of America, Vermont College's Crowley/Weingarten Award for Excellence in Teaching, Poetry magazine's George Kent Prize and three Pushcart Prizes. This year Wojahn was one of two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his book Interrogation Palace. His poems have appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker, Poetry and elsewhere.
September 19, 2007 at 4:30 p.m. in the Sophie Kerr Room
Click to enlarge photos.
Reviews of Interrogation Palace from The Univeristy of Pittsburgh Press:
"This sternly chosen sampling should strengthen, if not alter, Wojahn's reputation as an elegist, autobiographer and poetic historian - sometimes as all three at once. Those who already know his strengths will rejoice in the new work, especially in the remarkable and well-informed protest poems." -Publishers Weekly
"Wojahn's poems . . . integrate confessional and academic modes with honesty and skill." -Fred Muratori, Library Journal
"Interrogation Palace shows that David Wojahn has been faithful to his vision. Never afraid of the arcane and experimental, he somehow keeps both feet in this world and propels us through an inner sanctum of angels and rock music, soothsayers and popular history, and philosophers and postmodern mystery. At the heart of Wojahn's poetry is the raw data of pain and joy. This wonderful poet knows how to conjure laughter through a witty, earthy language." -Yusef Komunyakaa
Sample Poems and Audio Clips
One by one I lift them to the mouth, the tongue
the five smooth pebbles
Speak now, speak now, say again.
Let the tongue know its place. This will
according to Herodotus,
effect the cure for stammer.
Tongue contra world. Argot and glottal.
And memory, embabeled memory, is here
The speech correction teacher Mrs. N
looming back to me this morning as my neighbor
in black spandex cranks her Motown
up to ten, sunshine on a cloudy
day, in her yard as she lifts her ji-tech bow, and then
bristling arrows. Memory
of the tongue depressor, then its burrow
toward the tonsils. AH AH AH E E E,
good David good David good. Stereo
even louder now.
Tempts, Four Tops
and Miracles, Cloud Nine Standing in the Shadows
of love. Talk when I say you can talk
Barnyard David barnyard.
Of R. Ruth rang Randy rarely. Stop.
Rarely Randy rang. Rarely. Rarely. The stalled
train of the tongue, steaming
engine. Engine on the railroad on the winter trestle
Stalled. But then the grind and hisss and whistling
I am speaking now I have permission.
Heat Wave, bull's-eye all the arrows bristle,
And she nods to herself. The tongue
set free, the pebbles spit down.
Speak now speak now again again.