I was born in Denver, Colorado, on the westernmost edge of the Great Plains, and I’ve always responded to and aspired to a quality in poetry that I can only call “clarity.” Not that I’m interested in clarity at the expense of honest complexity; after all, light is not always benign: it blinds as often as it reveals, as anyone who’s grown up in my part of the world would know. That duality fascinates me and continues to shape my work. I’ve published 16 collections of poems over the years, most recently The Satire Lounge, The Earth-Boat, Marked Men, and Thread of the Real. My new book, The World As Is: New & Selected Poems, 1972-2015, will be released by NYQ Books on October 1, 2016. In September 2014 Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper appointed me to a four-year term as Colorado Poet Laureate, and I teach for the University of Denver’s University College, where I direct a master's level program in Arts & Culture that includes a Creative Writing concentration. I have two children, Susannah and Brian, and live with my wife, Iyengar yoga instructor Melody Madonna, in the foothills southwest of Denver.
John, the willful skeleton,
escaped from his tomb and away did run.
click, clack, click—
he ran until his joints felt sick.
He wobbled along as the moon rolled down
like an apple of snow beyond the town.
CRASH! John fell
against the wall of a dried-up well
and scattered into the grass. Then day
filled the wood in its whispery way:
a wind poured over the bony brow,
and out from the skull a low sound came—
a note as hollow as poor John’s name.
drifting the breeze,
reached only flowers, stones and trees.
Other than these it touched no one,
and never has yet, under sun after sun.
No matter how fiercely
you listen at dawn,
you can’t hear the moan of Runaway John.
-from The World As Is: New & Selected Poems, 1972-2015
©2016 Joseph Hutchison