Unions, Alfred Corn


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He has had the skill and courage to confront, absorb, and renew our poetic tradition at its most vital.
—Harold Bloom


Few poets could sustain, as Corn does, both the fiery voluptuousness of the abstract oracular passages, and the broken simplicity of the late 20th-century voice, tentative, self-conscious, unheroic.
—Wayne Koestenbaum


Seeing the very fact of mobility and diversity as an epic theme, he brings to it a discerning eye and ear, a marvelous memory for detail, and above all an exhilarating range of sympathy.
—Amy Clampitt

“to arm each other’s to strike/up the band our golden pledge”  

“How brief it is, that fiery burst of thunder!”   



Streaming tears hitched teamsters
jogging the wheel of progress
in unison or close harmony
while bells peal and call us
to arms each other’s to strike
up the band our golden pledge
out of one plus one many
new states of fellow feeling
constituting a more perfect union
that crowns us as one flash
of insight with improved working
conditions for love a nonnegotiable
bond united we stand
shoulder to shoulder against
isolation when industry
twines separate fibers
of reflection and passion
for you K. and for us this
embodies a double entendre
a workingman’s pastoral
it’s all one under the greenwood tree