Featured Faculty: Dan Chiasson

Dan Chiasson is the author of four books, most recently a book of poems, Where’s the Moon, There’s the Moon (Knopf 2010).  He is the poetry critic for The New Yorker, and a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. Chiasson was born and raised in Burlington, Vermont, attended Amherst College and received a PhD from Harvard University. He is a professor of English at Wellesley College and of poetry at Boston University.




Little bird, little sugar-cube,

Tell me all the state secrets

Of the crab apple, barberry, brake,

The concealed locales, the plots


Only you can unravel, my figurine,

O my collectible dinnerware,

I’ve hunted everywhere for answers;

Answer me, my New Jersey kingpin,


My flower hoarder, electronic eye,

My wind-up mini-Frankenstein;

If I speak into your corsage,

And say it slowly, so we both nod off:


My father died, nor was he at the height

Of his career as a bowler, nor

Had he discovered the cure for NASCAR—

Quite without fanfare, little jackass,


O my severely damaged little friend,

He died, and what I felt, pea pod,

Projection, tired device, was shy:

Surely you can identify, flight risk,


Going from unconscious whim to whim

As though the forest was only scenery?

I settle for thick yogurt, bird,

While you get to eat the scenery.


I’m one of the whims, fatherless

In this brand-new way, observing as

My father’s features idle inside

And thicken my sons’ cheekbones:


Where did you come by your business casual,

Your sturdiness and eerie sobriety

Auditing the Spring’s enormous income

While I piss my windfall zilch away?