Thursday May 20th, 2010

Wonk by Day, Poet by Night

“Even while many other American poets strive for public notice, the most public man to be a poet in America strives to keep his poetic persona private.”

That’s how Paul Mariani describes Michael J. Astrue, the head of the Social Security Administration, who is also an award-winning poet under the pen name A. M. Juster. Astrue/Juster is “an outspoken advocate of the New Formalism” who mostly writes in the sonnet form, but “he is quick to point out that he is by no means against the free verse that most American poets have favored for the last hundred years.”