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Donald Platt

Donald Platt

Donald Platt is a professor of English at Purdue University. His first two collections, Fresh Peaches, Fireworks,& Guns and Cloud Atlas, were published by Purdue University Press as winners of the Verna Emery Poetry Prize. His third book, My Father Says Grace, was published by the University of Arkansas Press. He is a recipient of the "Discovery"/The Nation Prize, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Center for Book Arts’ Poetry Chapbook Prize, and two Pushcart Prizes. His poems have appeared in many magazines and journals, including The New Republic, Nation, Paris Review, Poetry, Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Field, Iowa Review, Southwest Review, and Southern Review, and have been anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2000 and 2006. He lives with his wife, the poet Dana Roeser, and their two daughters in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Also by Donald Platt




Dirt Angels

Dirt AngelsDirt Angels

$15.00 paper | 89 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-930974-82-1
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Buy: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | ShopWMU | UPNE

A Green Rose Book

"Donald Platt’s aptly titled and arresting fourth collection of poems, Dirt Angels, examines how we exist in states of physical disrepair, decay, and disability: the world’s transience exhibited in the slow degradation of our very consciousness and flesh. And yet this awareness should not incapacitate us, Platt suggests; rather, it should further disarm us to the fleeting charms that make up a life: the corruptible beauty in the bodies of our children and loved ones, the ways language itself haphazardly‘cross-pollinate[s], misspoken and misheard’ and yet still blossoms. Dirt Angels offers its readers resolute, if embattled, joyfulness through Platt’s gorgeous language: itself a sinuous vocabulary of praise even in the face of mishap and pain."
         —Paisley Rekdal

"Using motifs such as concrete, mirrors, and yes, dirt, Platt walks the path from catastrophe to cohesion, demonstrating how lives can be broken yet redeemed through reflection, humility, and responsibility."
         —Jill McCabe Johnson, Prairie Schooner

Praise for My Father Says Grace:

"The third poem in this collection, which lends the book its title, is a treasure. Platt excels at taking a modest human, often familial, moment and exploding it to reveal the dense possibilities within.”
         —Patricia Monaghan, Booklist

"On almost every page there is a marvelous to-and-fro between darkness of loss—a father’s approaching death, a brother’s vulnerability—and the exuberance of language, the sheer eloquence of organization which are no less than their due. These are wonderful poems; they make superb, wrenching reading.”
         —Eavan Boland

"Donald Platt’s poems are fearless and generous aria-narratives, each distilling complex essences into a single, telling scene; through their attentive particularities, universal colors emerge. The abiding affirmation in Donald Platt’s work is that whatever exists must be made welcome and known. The result is an optimistic book, full of compassion, interest, and sheen, in an age when an unblinded optimism is much needed."
         —Jane Hirshfield


Girls with Glow-in-the-Dark Hula Hoops

The black girl
               Labetta from the next house over
                            is teaching my daughter Eleanor

to do the hula hoop, to shake her hips
               in that rhythmical
                            unmistakably sexual

shimmy, though they are still
               saplings, birch
                            and ash growing together

on the same boiling
               hopscotch-chalked street.
                            And though I feel the long

kiss of history
               as I breathe in the Georgia dusk’s
                            humid pine odor

and see within the lilac’s sweet shadows
               the slave ghosts hoe rock and red clay
                            and shuffle in their musical

cruel shackles toward the auction
               block in Charleston,
                            which is now a tourist attraction,

my daughter and her friend don’t
               yet feel the ironies radiate
                            like the day’s heat

up from the asphalt
               through the soles of their matching
                            pink sneakers. As they grow

into their bodies and fill out
               the hourglass shapes that spell
                            women, so they

must grow into history and put on
               guilt’s glitter, anger’s
                            lipstick and sequins.

But now they are only
               two girls out late
                            after dinner, alone with the slow sparks

of fireflies in the dusk that gathers
               and deepens into
                            night, that takes them

into her arms like an anonymous
               mother and makes them over
                            until I can’t tell

one body from
               the other. And now, because I am
                            nearsighted, there are only two

hula hoops, glowing
               yellow-green, revolving as if
                            by themselves, haloes around

the invisible place where
               their bodies were, night’s lost
                            daughters found, who wear in their

dark hair
               fireflies, in their earlobes
                            the seed-pearl stars.