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
Grow the Future of Public Media
MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!
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
mountains of tomatoes -
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.