The Beat: Maurice Manning

Maurice Manning has published seven books of poetry. His first book, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, won the Yale Younger Poets Award, and his fourth, The Common Man, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  Be sure to look for books by Manning in our online catalog.


Read "One View of Time" by Maurice Manning

Bio and poems at the Poetry Foundation

Article in Garden & Gun

Interview at Plume

Manning Reading at the Sewanee Writer's Conference (Video)


"Just A Memory Now (Instrumental)" by Chad Crouch is licensed under CC BY NC 4.0 with modifications

Alan May:

Welcome to The Beat, a poetry podcast produced by Knox County Public Library. Today’s poem is from Maurice Manning’s new unpublished manuscript titled Raincrow, Scarecrow. You can, very truthfully, say you “heard it here first.” In the poem, we meet a man named Tinnie and a mule named Tick (think “tic” of a clock). To the speaker, I believe, the work of the mule helps to measure time. Here is the poem “One View of Time” by Maurice Manning.

Maurice Manning:


You have to squint to see that it’s there

under the eave at the peak of the barn,

the hook where they used to hang the pulley

when it was time to put up hay.

All Tinnie had to do was cluck

and the mule, ever a grace to watch,

would step away from the barn and haul

the haystack up to the shadowy mow,

and Tinnie would take a pole from the ground

to poke the stack and get it swinging

like the pendulum of a tall clock

until it swung into the mow,

and by some knowledge it had the mule

with further grace stepped back,

the rope went slack and the stack was gone.

The mule went on like that all day,

pulling up and stepping back

as stack after stack swung into the barn.

You’d think the barn was eating time,

but I’ve had other thoughts as well,

the figure of Tinnie May poking

a pendulum of hay to prod

along an afternoon of time,

for us to learn that it’s alive,

as if all it needed was a poke

and then you’d see it moving, time

rigged up at the top of the barn by a rope

passed through a pulley and hitched to a mule

Tinnie May called Tick, old Tick,

the mule who could travel back and forth

in time, as if time was his dominion

and he passed through it like a king.

[Text of the poem provided with permission of the poet.]

Alan May:

That was “One View of Time” by Maurice Manning, who was kind enough to record this poem for us in on his farm in Washington County, Kentucky. Manning teaches at Transylvania University and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He has published seven books of poetry. His first, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, won the Yale Younger Poets Award, and his fourth, The Common Man, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Look for Maurice Manning’s books in our online catalog or call us at the Reference Desk at Lawson McGhee Library. Also look for links in the show notes. Please join us next time for The Beat.

Various voices:

Thank you for listening to and sharing this podcast from Knox County Public Library in Knoxville, Tennessee. Music for this podcast is by Chad Crouch. Find all our podcasts at pods.knoxlib.org, and explore life-changing resources at www.knoxlib.org. That's "knox l-i-b." Go to our "keep in touch" page to sign up for newsletters. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make us your essential connection for life-long learning and information.

About the Podcast

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About your hosts

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Melissa Brenneman

Melissa listens to hours of podcasts on most days. She started the habit with the intention of taking long walks, but podcasts proved to be more addicting than exercise. She records, edits and mixes podcasts for the library.
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Alan May

Alan May works as a reference librarian at Lawson McGhee Library. In his spare time, he reads and writes poetry. May's most recent books are Dead Letters (2008) and More Unknowns (2014). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, The Hollins Critic, New Orleans Review, Plume, and others.