National Poetry Month Spotlight: Mary Biddinger

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2016! We’re celebrating all month long. Each day we will bring you a poem we love–a selection from one of our published or forthcoming collections.

Today’s featured poet is Mary Biddinger, author of Saint Monica, O Holy Insurgency, A Sunny Place with Adequate Water, and Small Enterprise.
Some days you’re the coal miner
and some days you’re the coal.
Other days you might be the tiny
wheels on a cart that’s seldom used.
You might be the second best
lunch box that’s only for emergency.
Sometimes you have to put your
clothes on while someone’s sleeping.
Then, the opposite. The most you
can hope for is to become a shovel.
Because nobody buries a shovel,
and even the son of a shovel is useful.
You once saw an entire family living
inside an abandoned laundry cart.
The hardest work can be staying
warm and upright, and still blinking.
This poem, from Small Enterprise, was originally published in Enchanting Verses.
Biddinger headshot SP16Mary Biddinger is the author of four full-length collections of poetry, most recently Small Enterprise (Black Lawrence Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Green Mountains Review, jubilat, The Laurel Review, and Pleiades, among others. She is a Professor of English at the University of Akron, where she teaches poetry writing and literature, and edits the Akron Series in Poetry at the University of Akron Press. She is the recipient of a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship in poetry, and is currently working on a book-length volume of prose poems. Her collaborative poetry collection The Czar, written with Jay Robinson, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2016.