MN Poetry: Joyce Sutphen’s “The Kingdom of Summer”

This summer poet Joyce Sutphen was named Minnesota’s Poet Laureate.

Sutphen grew up on a farm in Minnesota. She earned a PhD in Renaissance drama from the University of Minnesota, and has taught British literature and creative writing at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. Her books of poetry include Straight Out of View, Coming Back to the Body, Naming the Stars, Fourteen Sonnets, and most recently, First Words.

Here’s a poem from First Words that seemed fitting for the Thanksgiving holiday:

The Kingdom of Summer

In my mother’s cellar there were

realms of golden apple, rooms

of purple beet, hallways of green bean

leading to windows of

strawberry and grape.

In her cellar there were

cider seas and

pumpkin shores,

mountains of tomatoes -

pickle trees.

When I walked down the steps

and pulled on the light,

I saw where she kept the

Kingdom of Summer.

- “The Kingdom of Summer” by Joyce Sutphen, as it appears in her collection First Words, published by Red Dragonfly Press. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.

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