Este mes hemos seleccionado un poema titulado: In Bed With A Book. La autora Mona Van Duyn fue Poet Laureat en Estados Unidos en 1992.


In Bed With A Book by Mona Van Duyn

In police procedurals they are dying all over town,
the life ripped out of them, by gun, bumper, knife,
hammer, dope, etcetera, and no clues at all.
All through the book the calls come in: body found
in bed, car, street, lake, park, garage, library,
and someone goes out to look and write it down.
Death begins life’s whole routine to-do
in these stories of our fellow citizens.

Nobody saw it happen, or everyone saw,
but can’t remember the car. What difference does it make
when the child will never fall in love, the girl will never
have a child, the man will never see a grandchild, the old maid
will never have another cup of hot cocoa at bedtime?
Like life, the dead are dead, their consciousness,
as dear to them as mine to me, snuffed out.
What has mind to do with this, when the earth is bereaved?

I lie, with my dear ones, holding a fictive umbrella,
while around us falls the real and acid rain.
The handle grows heavier and heavier in my hand.
Unlike life, tomorrow night under the bedlamp
by a quick link of thought someone will find out why,
and the policemen and their wives and I will feel better.
But all that’s toward the end of the book. Meantime, tonight,
without a clue I enter sleep’s little rehearsal.


En la cama con un libro por Mona Van Duyn

En procedimientos policiales, ellos están muriendo por toda la ciudad,
la vida se les arrancó, por arma de fuego, parachoques, cuchillo,
martillo, droga, etcétera, y ninguna pista en absoluto.
A lo largo del libro las pistas vienen en: cuerpo encontrado
en la cama, coche, calle, lago, parque, garaje, biblioteca,
y alguien va a buscarlo y escribirlo.
La muerte comienza con la rutina de la vida y las tareas pendientes
en estas historias de nuestros conciudadanos.

Nadie vio lo que pasó, o todo el mundo vio,
pero nadie puede recordar el coche. ¿Qué diferencia hay
cuando el chico no se enamorará, la chica nunca tendrá
un hijo, el hombre nunca verá un nieto, la vieja doncella
nunca tendrá otra taza de chocolate caliente antes de acostarse?
Como en la vida, los muertos están muertos, su inteligencia,
tan querida para ellos como la mía para mí, se apagó.
¿Qué tiene la mente que hacer con esto, cuando la tierra está afligida?

Me acuesto, con mis seres queridos, sosteniendo un paraguas ficticio,
mientras a nuestro alrededor cae la lluvia real y ácida.
El asa crece más y más pesado en mi mano.
A diferencia de la vida, mañana por la noche bajo la lámpara de la cama
por una relación rápido en el pensamiento alguien va a averiguar por qué,
y los policías y sus esposas y yo nos sentiremos mejor.
Pero todo eso es hacia el final del libro. Mientras tanto, esta noche,
sin una pista entro en la pequeña enumeración del sueño.


Mona Jane Van Duyn (May 9, 1921 – December 2, 2004) was an American poet. She won every major American award for poetry and was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1992.


Early years

Van Duyn was born in Waterloo, Iowa. She grew up in the small town of Eldora (pop. 3,200) where she read voraciously in the town library and wrote poems secretly in notebooks from her grade school years to her high school years. Van Duyn earned a B.A. from Iowa State Teachers College in 1942, and an M.A. from the State University of Iowa in 1943, the year she married Jarvis Thurston. She and Thurston studied in the Ph.D. program at Iowa. In 1946 she was hired as an instructor at the University of Louisville when her husband became an assistant professor there. Together they began Perspective: A Quarterly of Literature and the Arts in 1947 and shifted that journal to Washington University in St. Louis when they moved there in 1950.




Academic career

In St. Louis, Thurston became chair of the Washington University Department of English, and Van Duyn and Thurston drew to St. Louis and presided over what would become a unique literary circle of creative writers and critics. (It included poet Howard Nemerov, novelist and critic William Gass, novelist Stanley Elkin, poets Donald Finkel and John Morris, critic Richard Stang, authors Wayne Fields and Naomi Lebowitz, and others.)




Continuing to edit Perspective until it ceased publication in 1975, they are recognized for their role in fostering literary talent nationwide and for publishing early works by Anthony Hecht, W. S. Merwin, Douglas Woolf, and many others.

Van Duyn was a friend of poet James Merrill and instrumental in securing his papers for the Washington University Special Collections in the mid 1960s. She was a lecturer in the University College of Washington University until her retirement in 1990. In 1983, a year after she had published her fifth book of poems, she was named Adjunct Professor in the English Department and became the “Visiting Hurst Professor” in 1987, the year she was invited to be a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.




Career as a poet

Van Duyn won every major U.S. prize for poetry, including the National Book Award (1971) for To See, To Take, the Bollingen Prize (1971), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize (1989), and the Pulitzer Prize (1991) for Near Changes. She was the U.S. Poet Laureate between 1992 and 1993. Despite her accolades, her career fluctuated between praise and obscurity. Her views of love and marriage ranged from the scathing to the optimistic. In “What I Want to Say”, she wrote of love:

It is the absolute narrowing of possibilities

and everyone, down to the last man

dreads it

But in “Late Loving”, she wrote:

Love is finding the familiar dear




To See, To Take (1970) was a collection of poems that gathered together three previous books and some uncollected work and won the National Book Award for Poetry. In 1981 she became a fellow in the Academy of American Poets and then, in 1985, one of the twelve Chancellors who serve for life. A recent Collected Poems, If It Be Not I (1992) included four volumes that had appeared since her first collected poems. It was published simultaneously with a new collection of poetry, Firefall.

In 1993 she was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996. She died of bone cancer at her home in University City, Missouri, on December 2, 2004, aged 83.





  • Valentines to the Wide World (Cummington Publishing), 1959.

  • A Time of Bees (University of North Carolina Press), 1964.

  • To See, To Take: Poems (Atheneum), 1970 —winner of the 1971 National Book Award for Poetry

  • Bedtime Stories (Ceres Press), 1972.

  • Merciful Disguises:: Poems Published and Unpublished (Atheneum), 1973.

  • Letters From a Father, and Other Poems (Atheneum), 1982.

  • Near Changes (Knopf), 1990 —winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

  • If It Be Not I: Collected Poems, 1959-1982 (Knopf), 1994.

  • Firefall (Knopf), 1994.

  • Selected Poems (Knopf), 2003.



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