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.