Roland Flint (1934-2001)

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Roland Flint (1934-2001) wrote seven books of poetry. He served in the Marine Corps for two years after high school, and spent a lot of time in Bulgaria. He knew the Bulgarian language and translated several books of Bulgarian poetry. He taught Creative Writing and Literature at Georgetown University for 36 years, and served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1995-2000. He suffered the death of his six-year old son in 1972, an event that inspired a lot of his poetry, though his work is said to have had no rage, but generosity and openness. He was known for drawing out the noble in unexpected places in his poetry. A few of his books are And Morning (1975), Pigeon (1991), and Easy (1999). *info from

DC Writers’ Homes:

Written by Word Works intern Monica Root October 2013


remembrances from Linda Pastan:

When Roland Flint gave a poetry reading, his voice was so emotionally resonant that people would leave shaken, exhilarated, and eager to read his books. That voice has been silenced, but the books still remain, moving and true. Perhaps Flint’s poetry reminds me most of that of his friend James Wright. Both dare to be straightforwardly emotional and both approach the dangerous territory of sentimentality without ever crossing the line into it. And to me, most important, both are masters of metaphor.

Perhaps my favorite Flint poem uses the example of a bug burrowing deep in his ear to represent the darkness that lies just behind beauty and joy. This is how it ends:

“I couldn’t hear it until now, the brown, ugly, implacable bug saying pay attention: this is back of any perfect day, madness, the child’s death, and will not stop, and saying, by the difference, will you hear, now, which side of days you have.

Then thank a mystery that speaks your name, thank every trick in our ear, and listen.”

And so I will end by saying Remember Roland Flint and his work and “Pay attention…thank every trick in our ear and listen.”

Written by Linda Pastan September 2013

Beltway Poetry Quarterly:

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