Blakely, Diann

United States, (1957-2014)


  1. There’s adventure in home-life,
  2. though none of them saw it. They were hungry
  3. for oceans, the stretched sky, a taut sail.
  4. Their one trick was map-work, they prayed
  5. to pale gods, and tracked stars.
  7. Yet such spaces oppressed them, they missed
  8. clean clothes, and forks. At home
  9. they’d had beds changed, the sheets tightened,
  10. uncreased. They complained of long hours,
  11. saw the sea become sluttish, slack-edged.
  13. So they’ve come here to me, wanting
  14. mindlessness, limits. They will look
  15. to no stars, sleep at times I enforce.
  16. Drink’s strictly forbidden – they lick salt
  17. from my hand.
  19. I saw usual cravings, and blessed them with snouts.

© Diann Blakely Shoaf. Hurricane Walk. BOA Editions, Ltd., (1992).

Running a Pig

  1. He ran through threshed fields
  2. as though it were fun. Our legs
  3. were both short, his squeals
  4. meant enjoyment, I thought.
  6. Yet a pig – every part – can be eaten:
  7. the tongue, the feet, the sweet curling
  8. tail. I was thoroughly spanked:
  9. “That Pig cost a lot more than you.”
  11. But it wasn’t my fault –
  12. I knew nothing of pigs. I visited only
  13. for two weeks each summer,
  14. and I always brought books – there often
  16. seemed little to do. My smocked dresses
  17. were useless, a city child’s
  18. frills. I was soon plump from food
  19. meant for bodies that sweated,
  21. and grew things. Still I learned
  22. they kept all the young separate.
  23. Sows can develop a taste
  24. for man’s flesh, are born with an urge
  26. for their own. “Child, you fall once
  27. and that pig will run
  28. toward you, bite your pretty pink skin
  29. to the bone.”

© Diann Blakely Shoaf. Hurricane Walk. BOA Editions, Ltd., (1992).

About the Poet

Diann Blakely (1957-2014), (also Diann Blakely Shoaf) was a U.S. poet, essayist, editor and reviewer. Blakely attended the University of the South before taking her M.A. at Vanderbilt. She also studied writing at Harvard, Boston University and Vermont College.

Blakely was a poetry editor of Antioch Review, a Fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and a member of the tutorial staff at Harvard. She also taught at both the High School and the College level and was the Poet-in-Residence at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tennessee. In both 1994 and 1995 Blakely was awarded the Pushcart Prize. [DES-01/12]

Additional information:

Editor’s Note:

A while, back, Diann Blakely kindly called my attention to the pig poetry of [link id=’9077′ text=’William Matthews’]. Blakely was a student of Matthews, and he remained her mentor as her writing career began.

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