The Tall Book

for Tony Earley and after his fashion


I’ve determined the quiet beauty of things

is what I hearken to, the grace

of a papery butterfly tipping

over the purple frill at the tops

of ironweed, the field splayed

up the hill and misty, the end of summer.

Nothing like an understatement

to inspire, or rain a flood in the mind

to leave it glimmering and deep.


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Maurice Manning’s most recent books are The Gone and the Going Away, his fifth collection of poems, and The Rag-Picker’s Guide to Poetry, co-edited with Eleanor Wilner. A former Guggenheim fellow, Manning has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and is a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers. He teaches at Transylvania University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

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