November 18, 2018

A.M. Juster


For many years it was my hope
to choose that witty Wendy Cope,
but she will not accept the honor
and I cannot inflict it on her.
My corgi trainer likes Craig Raine,
but Charles insists he is a pain.
I’m rather fond of Ian Duhig,
but might his ego get too big?
There’s Mona Arshi, Warshan Shire,
and so many poets I admire.
James Fenton’s verse is smooth as satin,
but he is mostly in Manhattan.
Though Simon Armitage is droll,
the public may need more from this role.
Caroline Bird or Ruth Padel
would not be difficult to sell;
Kate Tempest or Rebecca Watts
would bring too many caveats.
Don Paterson might please the Scots,
and J.H. Prynne the academics,
but choosing Prynne would stir polemics.
Ben Wilkinson and Sarah Howe
might win in time, but not right now.
I hope my pick will not embitter
those Brian Bilston fans on Twitter …

Perhaps we need a novel voice,
some totally surprising choice.
Bob Dylan satisfied the Swedes;
I wonder if the public needs
a folk-rock legend in his prime—
perhaps it’s Richard Thompson time.
Stig Abell at The TLS
could help with sorting out this mess,
but snubbed committees formed for me
would quickly turn disorderly …

I might just trash the status quo
and start a poet bake-off show
with poets told where they can go
by Simon Cowell, who would be snotty
but better than the literati!

from Poets Respond
November 18, 2018


A.M. Juster: “With Carol Ann Duffy bowing out after ten years as Britain’s Poet Laureate, the competition to become her successor is heating up.” (web)

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August 17, 2018

A.M. Juster


I know that I was suckered in:
firm curves bulging, olive skin,
perfectly well-rounded cheeks
rubified with port-wine streaks,
the saffron crown with one deep crack,
an eggplant-colored nob in back—
a touch of tumor. It would still
be sunning on my windowsill—
art illustrating daily life—
except I took my carving knife
and slowly sliced five slabs of fresh,
soil-sweet, yet vaguely bitter flesh.

from Rattle #60, Summer 2018
Tribute to Athlete Poets


A.M. Juster: “I was a three-sport letterman in high school (albeit a tiny high school) and was recruited by Yale to play soccer, where after three weeks I gave up the sport for the great books program and other distractions of college. Although my basketball letter was a charity letter, in my early 40s I did shoot for one minute at the halftime of a Celtics-Cavaliers game as part of a five-man team that defeated 32 other teams in the Red Auerbach Charity Shootout.” (web)


A.M. Juster is the guest on Rattlecast #62! Click here to watch …

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May 1, 2017

A.M. Juster



A vial, a syringe, a long thin flow
of hope is rising. Desperate to know
fatigue and chemofog will dissipate.
The dead have called, but vaguely wait.


KENTS. Gum. The Globe. No milk has sold for days.
He asks the clerk how much the jackpot pays.
Frayed wallet; photo of a woman buried
long ago nearby. They never married.


Two smiles. One wink. The usual appears
although she hasn’t stopped by here for years.
She cracks a joke about her latest breakup.
Reflection. Mother’s grimace through the makeup.

from Rattle #55, Spring 2017
Tribute to Civil Servants

[download audio]


A.M. Juster: “I’m a little bit more old-school than a lot of today’s poets, but I think that the purpose of poetry is to improve the lives of your audience, to get them to reflect on something that they might not reflect upon, or to think about something in their lives that they might not think about. In a funny poem just try to give them a little joy, which I think is worthwhile in and of itself.” (twitter)

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July 5, 2015

A.M. Juster


What does an average worker need to know
about Benghazi, emails or my friends?
Show weakness, and demands may only grow

for voters to reject this quid pro quo
I brokered so we can achieve our ends.
What does an average worker need? To know

conspiracies expand and change, although
I am the one who can reverse those trends.
Show weakness, and demands may only grow

to find some blow-dried young politico
who thinks he’s Reaganesque as he ascends.
What does an average worker need? To know

that there is nowhere that I wouldn’t go
for programs that will pay back dividends.
Show weakness, and demands will only grow,

then progress toward equality will slow.
Don’t trust reports reporters must defend!
What does an average worker need to know?
Show weakness and demands will only grow.

Poets Respond
July 5, 2015

[download audio]


A.M. Juster: “I wrote this after an article in the New York Times, ‘Benghazi Emails Put Focus on Hillary Clinton’s Encouragement of Advisor,’ June 29, 2015.” (website)

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