2007 National Book Award Finalist,

Ellen Bryant Voigt

Messenger: New and Selected Poems 1976-2006

W. W. Norton & Company

Photo © Barry Goldstein

About the Book and Author

This collection arranges poems from the author’s six highly praised books alongside a group of astonishing new pieces.

Ellen Bryant Voigt grew up in Chatham, Virginia, and has lived in Vermont since 1969. She has published seven volumes of poetry, including Kyrie, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Shadow of Heaven, a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2002 she received the O.B. Hardison, Jr. Prize, for poetry and teaching, from the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Merrill Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, where she was subsequently elected a chancellor. Voigt designed—and teaches at—the first low-residency MFA program for writers, at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.

Suggested Links

Academy of American Poets Ellen Bryant Voigt page

Publisher's website

Excerpt from Messenger: New and Selected
Poems 1976-2006

From section 4 of “Rubato,” in Messenger

Deep in Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto,
at the cadenza’s end, the violins
at rest, bows lowered into their laps, and the Maestro
cradling his baton, the two French horns
shaking their spit out onto the floor, the oboe
keeping his reed moist in his mouth—when the grand
returns, after the solo appassionato,
triplets now set against the bold left hand,

when they pull themselves again to full attention,
ready to reinstate the common measure,
they first must listen and wait, wait and listen,
all forward movement stalled, while the piano
lists wheresoever she will: tempo rubato:
time taken from one note, given to another.

Excerpted from Messenger by Ellen Bryant Voigt. All rights reserved.