Visiting Poets

Daisy Fried

Daisy Fried

Alive to the kinetic pleasure of the street, Daisy Fried writes of city life and lives in a way that elides poetic distance, turning the reader into a subject and bringing the landscape into intimacy and immediacy. At once socially conscious and indignant, she faithfully renders experience into exact lyrics that never substitute manipulation of language for acuity of vision.

Eleanor Wilner, last year’s Conkling poet at Smith, writes of Fried’s first book, She Didn’t Mean to Do It: “She’s got a one-of-a-kind, syncopated city-talking voice: book smart, street smart, sophisticated, and an ear so good it seems to pick up every human frequency, in poems off-beat and on-target (hold on to your heart).”

She Didn’t Mean to Do It was awarded the University of Pittsburgh’s Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize for a first book of poetry and published in 2000; Pittsburgh will release her second collection in Spring 2006. Embracing risk and testing instability, Fried’s poems take as their subjects relationships, sex, work, and family. Says poet Albert Goldbarth, “Daisy Fried has managed to fashion. . . a life-enhancing vision . . . Her eye is brave, her language is omnivorous, her heart is bountifully chambered.”

Fried’s poems have appeared in the American Poetry ReviewAntioch ReviewThreepenny Review, and New York Quarterly, among others. A graduate of Swarthmore College, Fried is a recipient of the prestigious Pew Fellowship in Poetry and a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. She makes her home in Philadelphia.

Select Poems

Every damned day I think of my child,
little floating accidental, couple

cells, couple pretty pretty curls, I put her in
the many-babies river, I kissed her

off, good go, good go go away
from me and not be mine my

little reaching
little fingery


From SHE DIDN’T MEAN TO DO IT (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000)

There are things I want so badly
and then I don’t want them at all,
so I go to sleep and when I wake up
it’s not desire in heart, crotch, lungs

or brain, it’s outside of myself and coming
at me like the Smog Monster
or that thumb of mossy Jove-smoke
that climbs around Io, nudging

under her arm and around her back,
slowly jibbing her backward off
her stump. It’s not how her head is slipped
in its socket on the top end

of her neck. It’s how the one hand
drops to bring the smog-thing closer;
how the pale other flutters up like a sea-
weed wad, boneless, glad to the dark.

From SHE DIDN’T MEAN TO DO IT (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000)

In a museum, photos:
people later slaughtered stare at a camera.
Ones who are defiant. Ones who are
terrified. Ones young enough to understand

they keep us living petting
our baby chick hearts
a little more tenderly. The latest useless

sorrow. Our helpless selfishness. Let
the world go sadder. And clean.

From SHE DIDN’T MEAN TO DO IT (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000)

Poetry Center Reading

Fall 2005