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Poems - Bio 


Robert Wrigley


Our Father


A hand, or the shadow of a hand,

passes over.  The wind, you’d think,

or the way some sad, benevolent god

might stroke the hovering raven,

of all creation his favorite jewel.


So now the hollyhocks shake their hankies

and the dog looks up, abased

by domestication, while the minions

of aridity suffer from their thorns and scales,

singing world without love, amen.


You’d think the raven’s rosiny squawk

was complaint, an oiled curmudgeonly bell.

You’d think a decent god would

allow a man to love another man.

You’d think there was no place like hell


but earth, awash in its armies

and damned to believe in nothing

so much as dollars and death, the economies

of raven and of man—one who flies,

one who tries and tries to pray.


-from The Reign of Snakes



Poems - Bio


Robert Wrigley was born February 27, 1951, in East St. Louis, Illinois, Illinois, and grew up in Collinsville, a coal mining town. He received his B.A. (with honors) in English Language & Literature at Southern Illinois University in 1974, and his M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Montana in 1976, where he studied with Madeline DeFrees, John Haines, and Richard Hugo.

His collections of poetry include Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems (Penguin, 2006); Lives of the Animals (2003); Reign of Snakes (1999), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award; In the Bank of Beautiful Sins (1995), winner of the San Francisco Poetry Center Book Award and Lenore Marshall Award finalist; What My Father Believed (1991); Moon in a Mason Jar (1986); and The Sinking of Clay City (1979).

His work has also been published in numerous anthologies and literary journals. Wrigley's awards and honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Idaho State Commission on the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry magazine, the Wagner Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Theodore Roethke Award from Poetry Northwest, and two Pushcart Prizes. From 1987 until 1988 he served as the state of Idaho’s writer-in-residence.

Wrigley lives with his wife, the writer Kim Barnes, and their children, on the Clearwater River in Idaho. He has taught at Lewis-Clark College College, at the University of Oregon of Oregon, twice at the University of Montana, where he returned to hold the Richard Hugo Chair in Poetry, and at Warren College. He is the Director of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at the University of Idaho of Idaho.


Poems - Bio 

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Robert Wrigley