Shirt in Heaven

Jean Valentine

National Book Award–winner Jean Valentine’s most recent book, quietly marked by her signature minimalism, proceeds chronologically from childhood drawings and wartime memories to senescence and inescapable losses. Her translations, interspersed throughout, complement the compassionate moral sensibility, ever precise and unwavering, of her own poems.

ISBN: 9781556594786

Format: Paperback

Shirt in Heaven

Come upon a snapshot
of secret you, smiling like FDR, leaning on your crutches—

come upon letters I thought I’d burned—

I suppose you’ve got a place with lots of stairs.

I’m at the end of something, you’re at the beginning . . .

—dearest, they told me a surgeon sat down
in the hospital morgue, next to your body, & cried.
He yelled at the aide to get out.

His two sons had been your students.
—me too, little-knowing—

About the Author

Jean Valentine was born in Chicago, earned her BA from Radcliffe College, and has lived most of her life in New York City. She won the Yale Younger Poets Prize for her first book, Dream Barker, in 1965. Her collection Door in the Mountain won the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry. She has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bunting Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, the New York Council for the …

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