National Poetry Month Spotlight: Kevin Pilkington

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 Kevin Pilkington, author of The Unemployed Man Who Became a Tree and Where You Want to Be: New and Selected Poems.

The block association fought
to stop the high rise going up
on the corner of Fifty-ninth and Third.
The contractor won and didn’t care
he would have to tear down
historic tenements along with the one
I lived in or obstruct the views
of residents who lived there for years.
I was forced to move uptown
and now looking at it from thirty
blocks away it has become no bigger
than a stick. So I reach down
and snap off the top, bring it to the park
and play fetch with my dog. I heave
it as far as I can and he runs after
it, his thick coat black and shiny
in the sun – making the woman walking
by in a fur coat jealous. He runs back
towards me with at least twenty floors
clenched in his teeth, shaking his head
back and forth with condos breaking
off and falling on the grass. At least
five fall around my feet, into broken
pieces of greed as I kneel, pat his head
and say: good dog, good dog.
Pilkington PhotoKevin Pilkington is a member of the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. He is the author of six collections: Spare Change was the La Jolla Poets Press National Book Award winner; Ready to Eat the Sky was a finalist for an Independent Publishers Books Award; In the Eyes of a Dog won the 2011 New York Book Festival Award; The Unemployed Man Who Became a Tree was a Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award finalist. His poetry has appeared in many anthologies including: Birthday Poems: A Celebration, Western Wind, and Contemporary Poetry of New England. Over the years, he has been nominated for four Pushcarts. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines including: The Harvard Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Boston Review, Yankee, Hayden’s Ferry, Columbia, North American Review, etc. He has taught and lectured at numerous colleges and universities including The New School, Manhattanville College, MIT, University of Michigan, Susquehanna University, Georgia Tech. His debut novel Summer Shares was published in 2012 and a paperback edition was reissued in summer 2014. His collection Where You Want To Be: New and Selected Poems was just published. He recently completed a second novel and is working on a new collection of poems.