Alumnae Poets

Anne Harding Woodworth '65

Anne Harding Woodworth ’65

Anne Harding Woodworth is a poet and playwright, author of seven poetry collections and four chapbooks. Her most recent book is Trouble (Turning Point Books, 2020). An excerpt from her chapbook, The Last Gun, won the COG Poetry Award, judged by A. Van Jordan and subsequently animated.

In January of 2021, Anne’s poem, “Looking Homeward” from her first chapbook, Aesop’s Eagles (2001, Northwoods Press) was “Pick of the Week,” as a feature curated by Terence P. Winch on the “Best American Poetry” blog.

The first section of Anne’s book Trouble is a persona cycle in verse, "Hannah Alive," which she transformed into a one-woman play that was a finalist at the Adirondack Shakespeare Co. summer theatre. Another play, Somewhere Voices, which she co-authored with her sister, Bundy H. Boit, had a dramatic reading the summer of 2020 on Zoom, produced by the New Surry Theatre in Blue Hill, Maine.

Anne is a member of the Poetry Board at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, where she and her husband live. She is also a member of the Board of Governors at the Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, MA. As the mother of two (former) professional soccer players, Anne was the first chair of the board of DC Scores (1994), an after-school program in which children of Washington, DC, in grades 1-8 play soccer, as well as write and perform poetry. The program is still going strong.

Select Poems

Bill Waldron spared my mother and father agony
by teaching me how to drive a stick in a cornfield.

Think of it as an H, he said of the lever that came
out of the steering shaft of his two-door Dodge,

which my mother called a coupay. We were on the two-rut road
around the field that the tractor took to get in and out

at planting and harvest. The grassy hump sometimes hit the underside
and Bill would say, Oh m'god, downshift, girl, easerup,

which wasn’t hard as long as I remembered to clutch—
or the car would stutter over itself

and on the passenger side, Bill would get thrown around
almost to bumping his nose on the dash.

He had a big nose, talked as if he had a cold,
and his eye was on my older sister, who dreamed of boys

and going to Africa. I felt pretty important as the vehicle
to her heart, though I knew Bill didn’t have a prayer.

My sister married a Rhodes Scholar and went to Uganda
for Uhuru. Bill married the daughter of the town monument maker

and took over the business
before he even had a chance to look away.

He marked my father’s, then my mother’s grave,
so they won't ever be forgotten in that town I drove out of.

— firrst published in Aesop’s Eagles (2001, Northwoods Press) and “Pick of the Week,” on the “Best American Poetry” blog in January 2021.