Accomplished poet, children’s verse author, and translator Marilyn Nelson was born in Cleveland, Ohio into a military family. She is the daughter of one of the last of the Tuskegee Airmen, and her mother was a teacher. She spent much of her youth living on different military bases and began writing poetry when in elementary school. Her poetry carries with it a unique perspective on the United States military and its families. In addition to teaching at the University of Connecticut, Nelson also teaches at the University of Delaware and has taught poetry at West Point.
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How I Discovered Poetry
It was like soul-kissing, the way the words
filled my mouth as Mrs. Purdy read from her desk.
All the other kids zoned an hour ahead to 3:15,
but Mrs. Purdy and I wandered lonely as clouds borne
by a breeze off Mount Parnassus....