In her own words...

"Report from the Field"


Sublimation, a new version of piety,
Hovers the paint and gets her going.
Everything drifts, a barely heard sigh is the

Sound of wind in the next room blowing
Dust from anxiety. A favorite receptacle
Holds her breath and occasional sewing.

Only the artist will be held responsible
For something so far unsaid but true,
For having the crust to let the hysterical

Earnest of genuine feeling show through,
And watching herself in the glassy eyeing
Of Art as seen through a hole in her shoe.

Painter and poet, sometimes said to be lying,
Agonizingly know it is more like dying.


About this work

“Report from the Field” was first published in The Paris Review, No. 151 (Summer 1999), pp. 252.  It was included in  American Poet: The Journal of the Academy of American Poets, Spring 2003, p. 21,  in conjunction with "Still Time: A Note on Dorothea Tanning's Poems" by Richard Howard, pp. 20-21.  It was also featured in Poet’s Choice, Edward Hirsch, ed., New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2006, pp. 302-303; and The Making of a Sonnet: A Norton Anthology. Edward Hirsch and Eavan Boland, eds. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008, p. 220.

“Report from the Field” is also included in Dorothea Tanning's book, A Table of Content: Poems, New York: Graywolf Press, 2004, p. 54, and may not be reprinted without the publisher's permission.

J. D. McClatchy recorded a reading of this poem on April 17, 2015.