Marilyn Hacker is the author of twelve books of poems, including Names (2010) and Essays on Departure (2006), and an essay collection Unauthorized Voices (2010). Her thirteen volumes of translations from the French include Marie Etienne's King of a Hundred Horsemen (2008) , which received the 2009 American PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, Hédi Kaddour's Treason (2010) and Rachida Madani's Tales of a Severed Head (2012).
For her own work, she has received the National Book Award, two Lambda Literary Awards, the Academy of American Poets' Lenore Marshall Prize, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American PEN Voelcker Award for poetry, and the Argana International Prize from Morocco's Bayt as-Sh'ir / House of Poetry for 2011. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She lives in Paris.
What follows when imagination's not inspired by waiting,
body and spirit rendered sick and tired by waiting?
Wrinkles, stock market losses, abscessed teeth, rejection slips:
some of the benefits acquired by waiting.
Taught from childhood that patience is a virtue,
she thought that she could get what she desired by waiting.
History, a child at the chapter's cusp
can only find out what transpired by waiting.
Does anyone escape alienated labor's
cycle of being hired, exploited, made redundant, fired, by waiting?
He rolls a pen like a chess-piece between thumb and forefinger:
he won't emerge from the morass in which he's mired by waiting.
If poetry's imagination's daughter,
didn't someone say that she was sired by waiting?
She raised her children, wrote at dawn, ignored the factions,
arrived at being read, remembered and admired by waiting.
Once a pair of lovers downed shots in a Chelsea bar.
their nerves and fantasies hot-wired by waiting.
Sweating, shackled and blindfolded in a basement,
will I get out, the hostage (of whom) inquired, by waiting?
"Ghazal: Waiting," from Names © 2011 by Marilyn Hacker, used by permission of the author and W. W. Norton and Company, Inc.
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