Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Poet Inducted Into the Hall of Achievement. Yay, Madeline!

Madeline Defrees celebrates her 90th birthday at Elliott Bay with chocolate cake
I remember this special event very well. Many of her friends, fans,  former students, and an early publisher of hers all came out to speak about what an important influence Madeline had been on them---both as a hard-working dedicated poet and a woman ahead of her time.

This morning I found a video made last year when Madeline Defrees was inducted into the University of Oregon's Hall of Achievement. The video is yet to be published publicly though you can watch it here. The photographs of Defrees as a child, a habited nun, and a smiling woman on the beach hold me captive.
This new web site set-up by Madeline's literary executor, Anne McDuffie, is a great gift to lovers of Defrees' work near and far.

Here is one of my favorite poems. One that shows that her work is deserving of a wider audience.

Still Life

The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.
Robert Frost, “The Oven Bird”

After your letter arrived I left the oven on
all night and never once 

put my head in it. After your letter arrived 

I let one foot follow the other 

through the better part of the day. 

Your letter lay on the kitchen table by the paring
knife on the stoneware plate with the apple core 

like a Dutch still life restored to its muted color. 

To contiue reading this poem click here.


  1. Susan, thank you for this post and the link to the poems. Wonderful.

  2. You are entirely welcome, Maureen. Her book Blue Dusk is one of my favorites and a good place to start. She so deserves more attention from the poetry powers that be.