Last Day of National Poetry Month: John Engman

Before his death in 1996, John Engman was my college composition professor. Obviously more happened in the life of this brilliant man than just shepherding me through the basics of writing essays, but I never forgot his classes and his charming classroom presence. He was funny and smart and irreverent. I didn’t even know he wrote poetry when he was my professor; he didn’t know that about me, either, obviously.

If I still wrote poetry, I’d want to write like John Engman. Maybe I did, even, because I won the poetry prize given in his name at Augsburg College, when I was a student there one million years ago. 
*buffs nails for that brag*
If you haven’t bought Temporary Help, then you need to go do so.
While I’ve had “Saturday Bath” hung up in the bathrooms of every place I’ve lived since 1996, that one, as well as two of my other favorites, “Aluminum Folding Chairs” and “A Bird Flies Into The Room and Then Flies Out Again” are sadly not available online. 
So I’ll link to “Work” which is lovely, via Prairie Schooner and “Sobbing Uncontrollably in Public Places” via Tumblr. 


  • Carrie Mesrobian on May 01, 2013 Reply

    That one is totally great. Funny, sublime, mundane. Just wonderful.

  • Matthew MacNish on May 01, 2013 Reply

    Well, I’ve just read Work, and you’re right, it’s brilliant.

    But … “A Bird Flies Into The Room and Then Flies Out Again” is probably the dopest title for a poem I have ever heard.

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