Samuel Hazo is the author of poetry, fiction, essays, various works of translation and four plays. Governor Robert Casey named him Pennsylvania’s first State Poet 1993. He served until 2003. From his first book, through the National Book Award finalist “Once for the Last Bandit,” to his newest poems, he explores themes of mortality and love, passion and art, courage and grace. samuel​ha​zoau​thor​.com

No More Love Letters

I have always been amused by Hollywood’s vision of writers at work. The writer is presented seated at a desk on which sits a typewriter or a computer. Suddenly the writer seems inspired and begins typing feverishly. The camera stays on him as he continues to type, and his manuscript grows page by page into …

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An Elegy for Oscar

Some say we love our pets, particularly our dogs, because it pleases and comforts us to do so. I’m not convinced. From my experience with my own dog, who died helplessly of heart failure in his thirteenth year, I felt and still feel a sense of loss that is more than the absence of self-comfort. …

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A Love Like No Other

All genuine love stories have moments of joy as well as moments of sadness. They may vary in intensity or duration, but they are never absent. Those who think of love as uninterrupted joy are romantics. Those who are obsessed only with sadness deserve their misery. This love story came to me out of coincidence. …

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Who Quotes Nero?

Poems have birthdays but no funerals. They somehow manage to outlive their creators as well as the times and cultures in which they were written. Why? How? Numerous answers have been given—some academic, others pedestrian, and still others with silence and a shrug. The common theme that appears in these various answers is that poems …

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For the Joy of It

I recently read that the audience for baseball is shrinking. The author did not cite any particular franchises or cities where there were fewer fans in the stands, nor did he cite any reasons or statistics. As someone who loves baseball, I wondered what prompted the article. Could the author have seen the proliferation of …

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When Clocks Have No Hands

I am a returnee by nature. Over the years I have returned to neighborhoods where I once lived, to rooms in dormitories that were mine, to Mirror Lake in the Adirondacks where I caught my first trout and to a grade school playground where I competed in kickball (soccer), softball and football. Although I enjoyed …

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Underheard

1 He had the window seat. After take-off he said, “My line is socks; what’s yours?” I said I was a writer. He smiled his least impressive smile. “What do you write?” “I hope they are poems.” ‘Where are you headed now? I told him I’d been invited to recite my poems at a university. …

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The Dangerous Necessity of Beauty

At one time I took for granted the traditional definition of beauty—id quod visum placet—that which when seen pleases. Eventually I came to see that this was much too narrow a definition. It did not include what could be called beautiful when heard, touched, tasted, felt or otherwise experienced. That is why Robert Frost’s saying …

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What’s Right, What’s Left?

So much of modern culture seems bent on eliminating humanity from life itself. In many instances, this is identified as progress. But is it? Consider the current attitude toward handwriting, i.e., cursive. In many of our schools there is no longer any emphasis on the handwritten word. When I asked my grandson recently if handwriting …

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O Say Can’t You See?

We shout when we should be discussing, and the country in chaos accepts it. We shoot when we should be disarming, and the country in chaos accepts it. We claim that the poor are just lazy, and the country in chaos accepts it. We budget to build bigger prisons, and the country in chaos accepts …

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