Jean Valentine won the Yale Younger Poets Award in 1965 for her first book, Dream Barker. Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965-2003 won the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry. She taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Graduate Writing Program of New York University, Columbia University, and the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. She is the author of many books: The Cradle of the Real Life (Wesleyan Poetry, 2000); Growing Darkness, Growing Light (Carnegie Mellon Press, 1997); The Under Voice: Selected Poems (Salmon Publishing, 1995); The River at Wolf (Alice James Books, 1992); Home Deep Blue: New and Selected Poems (Alice James Books, 1989); The Messenger (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979); Ordinary Things (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1974); and Pilgrims (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1969).
The moment you turned to me on W. 4th St.
Your gentleness to me
The hard winter grass here under my shoes
I knelt in the frost to your parents
light on the right hand side of your face
The light on the Buddha's eyelids
I knelt to my parents
How much sleep there was in sleep
suffering is lost