Trio House Press
Publishing distinct voices in American poetry

The Short Drive Home by Joe Osterhaus

Winner of the 2016 Louise Bogan Award selected by Chard DeNiord

Osterhaus has a BA from Pomona College, and MAs from the University of Chicago and Boston University. He has taught at Boston University, University College at Washington University, and the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins. He was a Scholar at Bread Loaf and a Walter E. Dakin Fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He was also Tennessee Williams Fellow and Visiting Lecturer at the University of the South.


His chapbook, The Domed Road, was published by Graywolf in Take Three: AGNI New Poets Series: 1. His book, Radiance, was published by Zoo Press. His poems have also been included in The New American Poets: A Bread Loaf Anthology; American Poetry: The Next Generation; Phoenix Rising: The Next Generation of American Formal Poets; and The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets.


His poems and review articles have appeared in AGNI, The Antioch Review, BOMB, The Boston Review, The Formalist, Harvard Review, Hotel Amerika, The Journal, The Missouri Review Online, The Nebraska Review, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Sewanee Theological Review, Slate, Triquarterly, and The Yale Review, among other journals.


He lives with his wife and son in Northern Virginia, where he works in IT services.



From "Sol"

1

. . . or lifelight, whose hooded path through the dry trees

powders moss-smut and bark as I walk by,

all of us: poplar, ash, white chute of cloud

remark your passing and turn after you

unconsciously, with lowered eyes or leaves, assays

 

of word or mist, that fix you in a rush-mat sky.

Bright canter, whose plumes arc loads of static

in every live receiving dish; bored traveler,

whose molt of hydrogen and carbon plumbs

wastes light takes millennia to cross; cave dweller,

 

whose actions slip, too absolute for thought,

a whole niche from the periodic table,

dusting nickel with a froth of platinum---

the plumes recorded by our satellites

charge in the wind that stirs your gravid lakes

 

of helium, whipping dust spouts and vortices

that curl, and billow, carded with black spots.

Torn grass and cloud defray your stack of heat

and scatter it like straw, leaving you at day’s end

roaring outside the safe house of our sleep.