Luther Alumni Magazine

A promising poet

Jill Osier '96

Jill Osier ’96 was named the 2019 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, the oldest annual literary award in the country. Osier joins an esteemed list of recipients, including Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, Margaret Walker, Carolyn Forché, James Tate, and U.S. Poet Laureates Robert Hass, William Meredith, and W.S. Merwin. Yale University Press will publish her collection, The Solace Is Not the Lullaby, in April 2020.

In the meantime, Osier shares a poem from her forthcoming book (the poem originally appeared in Subtropics). The second stanza was inspired by her walks and runs in Decorah while teaching at Luther in 2000–2001.



Out into the cold, slushy streets, these streets
where a dark lake never leaves the air,
where children are going to bed, their lights
turned out before they can say, Wait—
I’ve forgotten something about you—I’m forgetting
even as you close the door—

tonight I take roads where deer watch you,
and where you watch, breath held
by a house that’s all windows, a mother
carrying an infant through lit rooms,
until a door opens and closes and they disappear,
until the deer runs and its young hesitate
then imitate her fleeing.