Gail Mazur '59 is the author of five books of poems, including Zeppo’s First Wife: New & Selected Poems (Chicago, 2005), which won the Massachusetts Book Award and was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Her earlier books are Nightfire, The Pose of Happiness, The Common, and They Can’t Take That Away from Me, a 2001 National Book Award finalist. She is Distinguished Writer in Residence in Emerson College's Writing, Literature, and Publishing Program and founding director of the Blacksmith House Poetry Center. She has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College as well as the St. Botolph Club Foundation Distinguished Artist Award. Mazur graduated from Smith College in 1959 with a BA in English Literature, and earned an MA at Lesley College (now Lesley University). 


Gail Mazur '59


Young Apple Tree, December

What you want for it what you’d want

for a child: that she take hold;

that her roots find home in stony 

winter soil; that she take seasons

in stride, seasons that shape and

reshape her; that like a dancer’s, 

her limbs grow pliant, graceful

and surprising; that she know,

in her branchings, to seek balance; 

that she know when to flower, when

to wait for the returns; that she turn

to a giving sun; that she know to share 

fruit as it ripens, that what’s lost

to her will be replaced; that early

summer afternoons, a full blossoming 

tree, she cast lacy shadows; that change

not frighten her, rather change

meet her embrace; that remembering 

her small history, she find her place

in an orchard; that she be her own

orchard; that she outlast you; 

that she prepare for the hungry world,

the fallen world, the loony world,

something shapely, useful, new, delicious. 

From YOU CAN’T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME and ZEPPO’S FIRST WIFE (University of Chicago Press, 2001 and 2005, respectively)

Gail Mazur's reading at Smith November 13, 2007
More poems (and longer bio) by Gail Mazur