Robert Hass is the author of several books of poems, most recently Sun Under Wood. Poet laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997, he teaches English at the University of California at Berkeley. (November 2005)

Poet of Wonders

I first became aware of Ko Un in 1988, when I was in Seoul, Korea. Writers from all over the world had gathered to discuss issues of censorship and freedom of speech. One night I was taken to a local university campus, where there was an evening of poetry and …

The Emperor Constantine

I could have lived in the time of Constantine. Three hundred years after the death of the Savior, Of whom no more was known than that he had risen Like a sunny Mithra among Roman legionnaires. I would have witnessed the quarrel between homoousios and homoiousios …

Father Ch., Many Years Later

I sit down now and write in my defense. The witnesses are old things, undimmed, dense With the life of human hands: the intense reds In stained glass, stone lacework, marble heads, The dark gold calligraphies of magic, traces Of red in alchemical …

Preparation

Still one more year of preparation Tomorrow at the latest I’ll start working on a great book In which my century will appear as it really was. The sun will rise over the righteous and the wicked. Springs and autumns will unerringly return, In a …

Three Poems by Czeslaw Milosz

ACCOUNT The history of my stupidity would fill many volumes. Some would be devoted to acting against consciousness, Like the flight of a moth which, had it known, Would have tended nevertheless toward the candle’s flame. Others would deal with ways to silence anxiety, …