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A New Poet

Much of life
is Dutch
one-digit
operations

in which
legions of
big robust
people crouch

behind
badly cracked
dike systems

attached
by the thumbs

their wide
balloon-pantsed rumps
up-ended to the
northern sun

while, back
in town, little
black-suspendered
tulip magnates
stride around.

—Linda Pastan

from Heroes In Disguise, 1991
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY

Copyright 1991 by Linda Pastan.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. from Heroes In Disguise. Copyright 1991 by Linda Pastan. For further permissions information, contact Linda Pastan, lpastan@att.net.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Poet Linda Pastan (1932- ) was raised in New York City but has lived for most of her life in Potomac, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. In her senior year at Radcliffe College, Pastan won the Mademoiselle poetry prize (Sylvia Plath was the runner-up). Immediately following graduation, however, she decided to give up writing poetry in order to concentrate on raising her family. After ten years at home, her husband urged her to return to poetry. Since the early 1970s, Pastan has produced quiet lyrics that focus on themes like marriage, parenting, and grief. She is interested in the anxieties that exist under the surface of everyday life. 

Learn more about Linda Pastanat The Poetry Foundation.