Small Comfort

(Sculpture/illustration: Alex Kuno)

(Original sculpture illustration commissioned for the 2014 Saint Paul Almanac by Alex Kuno)


I remember hearing Kurt Vonnegut, who

was speaking in Saint Paul, say that when

the aliens arrived on a desolated earth,

we should leave them a message, carved in

the walls of the Grand Canyon, and that

message should say: “We could have saved

ourselves, but we were too damn selfish

and too damn lazy.” This was the same night he

told us that we had about as much chance

of becoming a professional

baseball player or a senator as

we had making a living as a writer,

but he’d done it and written one of the

best anti-war books ever written. He’d

taught us to say, “So it goes,” and so it does. 


Joyce Sutphen’s first book, Straight Out of View (1995), won the Barnard New Women’s Poets Prize. Coming Back to the Body (2000) was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award, and Naming the Stars (2004) won the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Minnesota Monthly, Water-Stone, and many other journals, as well as being featured on the Writer’s Almanac. In 2011 she was named the second Minnesota Poet Laureate by Governor Mark Dayton, following the tenure of Robert Bly. She grew up in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter.


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