Jane Graham George was born in 1951 in Fort Benning, Georgia. She and her twin sister Molly both studied English at the University of Minnesota. Molly went on to become a visual artist, while Jane got a degree in Library Science and pursued poetry. Her years working as a librarian in Minnesota inspired her book of poetry Library Land.
Dakota County Fair
Plaid-shirt farmboys with bale-strong
arms leaning on the metal corrals,
grandmas, other pigs and handlers,
all watch breathlessly as a small
teen-aged girl and her black, white-
belted pig stand waiting for the judge
who speaks as though he hails
from one of the finest salons
in Europe, literary, I mean,
as if awarding the Prix Goncourt,
enunciating each honeyed word.
“Folks, this young lady does not poke or prod,
is at one with her charming Hampshire hog.
4-H or not, this is equanimity.”
Though she really does look like Athena,
it isn’t quite like hitting a home run
or sinking a putt from an improbable distance
which is why, once the judge awards the blue ribbon,
there’s no arm pumping, no prom-spinning in place.
Something about a hog does bring you right back to earth.
– “Swine Judging, Dakota County Fair” by Jane Graham George, as it appears in her collection Library Land published by Red Dragonfly Press. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.