Emily Saland,
Assistant to the President

"So I Said I Am Ezra"
by A. R. Ammons


I fell in love with this poem quite by accident. One of the first offices I walked into as a college freshman had been recently vacated by A. R. Ammons, who'd been a creative writing professor there from the 1960s until his death in 2001. The office’s new inhabitant was my advisor, and one of one of Ammons' protégés. She gave me a book of his selected works, of which this early effort is my favorite. I love its conversational start, its near insistence on vocalization. When I was pregnant with my first child this poem became a kind of mantra for me - I remember there being something very calming about the narrator asserting identity over and over again in the face of loneliness and uncertainty. In the end a word too much repeated fell into being, and I named my son Jack Ezra.