“Unacknowledged Laureates” by Dante Di Stefano

Dante Di Stefano


Today isn’t the first day I’ve googled Glück
to find out the right pronunciation,
but I admit I haven’t read her much
and might not open the wild irises

I imagine springing from the umlaut
of her last name. I admit I love those
tiny planets orbiting the valley
of that “u” more than I love the promise

of any poem she may have written.
And now I’m wondering, for the first time,
about all the poems I’ll never read,
the ones I’ve missed, the ones that will remain

unwritten until after I die, ones
withheld from me by a whim of tempo.
Oh Louise, as you say in a poem
of yours I looked up online, “Don’t listen

to me; my heart’s been broken.” The world seems
like it’s ending right now, but, then again,
it always does, and, after all, I feel
like I’m carrying all the enjambments

of the poetry I haven’t read—in
the arrhythmias of the everyday—
and this carrying I rarely notice:
an ocean in a single drop, a song.

from Poets Respond
October 11, 2020


Dante Di Stefano: “I wrote this poem after reading about Louise Glück’s Nobel Prize win. I was thinking, for the first time, about all of the great poetry that for one reason or another I won’t read in my lifetime. It’s interesting to consider how what you haven’t read might vertebrae your life as much as what you have read.”

Rattle Logo