Diane Wakoski

Diane Wakoski

in Whittier, California, The United States
August 03, 1937


Wakoski is an American poet who is primarily associated with the deep image poets such as Jerome Rothenberg, Robert Kelly, and Clayton Eshleman. Throughout her work she uses legends, myth and fairy tales to create a deeply personal mythology.

She is best known for a series of poems collectively known as "The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems."

Wakoski was given the William Carlos Williams Award for her "Emerald Ice: Selected Poetry 1962-1987."

Average rating: 4.10 · 634 ratings · 44 reviews · 31 distinct works · Similar authors
Emerald Ice: Selected Poems...

4.17 avg rating — 100 ratings — published 1988 — 3 editions
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The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems

4.21 avg rating — 101 ratings — published 1971 — 3 editions
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Dancing on the Grave of a S...

4.02 avg rating — 60 ratings — published 1973 — 2 editions
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Inside the Blood Factory

3.94 avg rating — 47 ratings — published 1968
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Waiting for the King of Spain

4.11 avg rating — 38 ratings — published 1976 — 3 editions
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Medea the Sorceress

4.17 avg rating — 30 ratings — published 1990 — 3 editions
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3.96 avg rating — 24 ratings2 editions
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Trilogy: Coins and Coffins ...

4.17 avg rating — 23 ratings — published 1974 — 2 editions
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The Collected Greed, Parts ...

4.36 avg rating — 22 ratings — published 1984 — 3 editions
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The Butcher's Apron: New an...

3.92 avg rating — 24 ratings — published 2000 — 3 editions
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“Sour Milk

You can't make it
turn sweet
it was an innocent color
like the flowers of wild strawberries,
and its texture was simple
would pass through a clean cheesecloth,
its taste was fresh.
And now
with nothing more guilty that the passage of time
to chide it with,
the same substance
has turned sour and lumpy.

The sour milk
makes interesting & delicious doughs,
can be carried to a further state of bacterial action
to create new foods,
can in its own right
be considered complicated and more interesting in texture
to one who studies it closely,
like a map of the world.

to most of us:
it is spoiled.
We throw it out,
down the drain-not in the backyard-
careful not to spill any
because the smell is strong.
A good cook
would be shocked
with the waste.
But we do not live in a world of good cooks.

I am the milk.
Time passes.
You cannot make it
turn sweet
I sit guiltily on the refrigerator shelf
trembling with hope for a cook
who dreams of waffles,
biscuits, dumplings
and other delicious breads
fearing the modern housewife
who will lift me off the shelf and with one deft twist
of a wrist...
you know the rest.

You are the milk.
When it is your turn
there is nothing more than the passage of time
we can chide you with.”
Diane Wakoski, Emerald Ice: Selected Poems, 1962 1987
tags: poem

“It was hard for them to accuse their wives of infidelity when their rival was an invisible man.”
Diane Wakoski, Virtuoso Literature for Two and Four Hands

“Poetry is the art of saying what you mean but disguising it.”
Diane Wakoski

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