Robert Penn Warren was an American novelist, poet and critic.

IN THE REVIEW

Minneapolis Story

To John Knox Jessup Whatever pops into your head, and whitely Breaks surface on the dark stream that is you, May do to make a poem—for every accident Yearns to be more than itself, yearns, In the way you dumbly do, to participate …

Trips to California

Two days behind the dust storm—man’s Fecklessness, God’s wrath—and once Dust on the highway so deep piled Mules had to drag the car. This Was Kansas, and in midafternoon It rained blood for half an hour— Or what looked red as blood and …

Better Than Counting Sheep

On a night when sleep eludes you, I have, At last, found the formula. Try to summon All those ever known who are dead, and soon It will seem they are there in your room, not chairs enough To go around, or standing space …

Not Quite like a Top

Did you know that the earth, not like a top on its point, Spins on an axis that sways, up and down, from its middle? Well, I didn’t know, but do now, and often at night, After maybe three highballs, I lie in my bed, …

Orphanage Boy (Octosyllabics)

From the orphanage Al came to Work on the farm as what you’d call Hired boy if he might get enough To call hire. Back at the wood pile Chopping stove-lengths, he taught me the Dirty words I’d never heard of Or learned from …

Sister Water

…and to begin again, the night was dark and dreary, and The Captain said to his trusty Lieutenant, “Lieutenant, Tell us a story.” And the Lieutenant: “The night was—“ And I Have heard on the creaky stairs at night an old man’s Dragging step …