Ralph Angel


Born in Seattle, Washington, Ralph Angel earned a BA from the University of Washington and an MFA from the University of California at Irvine. Angel’s spare lyrics are set in an urban landscape that seems timeless, universal, and historical. Angel commented in the “Afterword” to Poem of the Deep Song: “I come from a household of three languages—Ladino, Hebrew, and English—one that I could understand but not speak, one that I could sing but not understand, and one that is the language of my country, at some distance, always, from my home.” Angel received many awards, including a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the Bess Hokin Award of the Modern Poetry Association. He taught at University of Redlands and in the MFA in Writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. He lived in Los Angeles for many years, until his death in early 2020. Source


I’m standing on 10th Street. I’m not the only one. Buildings rise like

              foliage and human touch.


And so shall dig this cigarette as my last, and rattle trains, and rot the fences

              of the gardens of my body—


or without the harmony of speaking here the many sounds and rhythms that

              sound a lot like anger


when anger’s silent, like a painting, though in the stillness of the paint itself

              the painter nods or waves or asks for help.


I’m not the only one. The pharmacy’s untitled. The stars are there at night.

              In this Humidity


the forlorn singing of the insects clings to anything nailed down. A whole bag of

              things I’m working


through, some set things that I know, like words I know that mean "from

              one place to another," the word that means


"to carry." I’m standing still on 10th Street. I’m not the only one.

              The dark tastes of salt and oranges. Its eyes


wander round and round. I am its thousand windows. I think about the future


              and the sea. And stay.






Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Poems of Place

Literary Devices:


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Sensory Detail

words used to invoke the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell)


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”