Verses and Vibes with Campbell McGrath

Learn about the poet and read The Everglades--one of his many Florida-centric poems

Photo by Emma Dodge Hanson

Since April is National Poetry Month, we caught up with poet, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and FIU distinguished professor Campbell McGrath. He’s authored 15 books of poetry—most recently, Nouns & Verbs: New and Selected Poems. He’s a recipi- ent of the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The New Yorker. Those bona fides aside, McGrath says poetry is for everyone. All you need to do, he says, is give it a chance.

Read McGrath’s poem, The Everglades–one of his many Florida-centric poems–below:

The Everglades

Campbell McGrath

Green and blue and white, it is a flag

for Florida stitched by hungry ibises.

It is a paradise of flocks, a cornucopia
of wind and grass and dark, slow waters.

Turtles bask in the last tatters of afternoon,
frogs perfect their symphony at dusk—

in its solitude we remember ourselves,
dimly, as creatures of mud and starlight.

Clouds and savannahs and horizons,
its emptiness is an antidote, its ink

illuminates the manuscript of the heart.
It is not ours though it is ours

to destroy or preserve, this the kingdom
of otter, kingfisher, alligator, heron.

If the sacred is a river within us, let it flow
like this, serene and magnificent, forever.

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