Friday, August 26, 2005

The Stamps Just Arrived & Now I Have no Reason Not to Send Out Submissions


Poet, novelist and educator Robert Penn Warren was honored in 2005 by the U.S. Postal Service with the issuance of a commemorative postage stamp. Robert Penn Warren was America's first official poet laureate (1986-87) and a three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the only writer to have won the prize in poetry ("Promises: Poems, 1954-1956," in 1958, and "Now and Then: Poems, 1976-1978," in 1979) as well as fiction ("All the King's Men," 1947). Warren received scores of other awards as well, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1980). He died on September 15, 1989, in West Wardsboro, VT. Artist Will Wilson of San Francisco, CA, based his portrait of Warren on a 1948 photograph obtained from the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies at Western Kentucky University. The background art recalls scenes from "All the King's Men." The stamp is 21st in the Literary Arts series, which also includes Zora Neale Hurston (2003), Ayn Rand (1999) and Stephen Vincent Benét (1998).

San Francisco Night Windows

So hangs the hour like fruit fullblown and sweet,
Our strict and desperate avatar,
Despite that antique westward gulls lament
Over enormous waters which retreat
Weary unto the white and sensual star.
Accept these images for what they are--
Out of the past a fragile element
Of substance into accident.
I would speak honestly and of a full heart;
I would speak surely for the tale is short,
And the soul's remorseless catalogue
Assumes its quick and piteous sum.
Think you, hungry is the city in the fog
Where now the darkened piles resume
Their framed and frozen prayer
Articulate and shafted in the stone
Against the void and absolute air.
If so the frantic breath could be forgiven,
And the deep blood subdued before it is gone
In a savage paternoster to the stone,
Then might we all be shriven.

From Selected Poems of Robert Penn Warren, edited by John Burt. Copyright © 2001 by John Burt.


Hannah Craig said...

You know, I was standing in the post office yesterday and I saw the poster with all the stamps listed...spotted the RPW ones...and said to myself "well, I'll need some of those of course."

I ended up with some goofy flowers that I cannot possibly use on any serious envelope, ever. Ever.


Nick said...


I only found out until after I ordered my stamps on-line about the RPW commemorative stamp. I got stuck with clocks and Chippendale chairs that I needed for the additional postage.