What I Gave the 20th Century RSS

09 April, 2015: What I Gave the 20th Century


by Kevin Prufer
What I Gave the 20th Century
I gave it thirty years. It wanted more.
I loved its mad perambulations
through the outlet malls, its runs
of horror movies and its discount stores.

I poured my thoughts into its internet
and watched them swim like cave-blind carp
milky and quick in the thrilling dark.
Such years and love I gave, in retrospect.

And through it all I had good laughs, and cried
no bitter tears. And as my waistline grew,
so grew my heart. And if a noisy few
enjoyed it less, I say that’s sad. I hear they died

and took their dull complaining to the grave.
As for me: I loved it, and I gave.

“What I Gave to the 20th Century” from In a Beautiful Country, ©2011 by Kevin Prufer. Appearing here with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.

Kevin Prufer, born in Cleveland in 1969, is the author of several books. His most recent, Churches (Four Way Books, 2014) was named one of the ten best poetry books of the year in The New York Times. He's also co-editor of a recent volume on the work of the avant garde, Cleveland-based poet and music theorist Russell Atkins for the Unsung Masters Series.


Think back more than 15 years ago.

How was your 20th century? Write a poem titled “My 20th Century,” using at least three quatrains (four-line stanzas). Or, if you are up for the challenge, in the form of a sonnet. You may use rhyme, slant rhyme, or no rhyme.
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READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.