Verna Lee Hinegardner
2011 Arkansas Senior Poet Laureate

Verna Lee Hinegardner, 92, Conway, has written poetry more than eighty years. Her first published poem appeared in a church magazine when she was nine. When former U. S. President Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas, he appointed her as Arkansas Poet Laureate, a post she held 13 years. She is retired from Land Management , U. S. Forest Service. Verna Lee has three children, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. She says, “My goal in writing poetry is to write poetry which is easy to understand and hard to forget.” Her sun sign is Capricorn


The Waterfall (1961) by M. C. Escher (1898-1972). The primary institutional collections of original works by M.C. Escher are the Escher Museum, a subsidiary of the Haags Gemeentemuseum in The Hague; the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC); the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa); the Israel Museum (Jerusalem); Huis ten Bosch (Nagasaki, Japan); and the Boston Public Library. (Excerpted from Wikipedia.)

I am a fork in a bowl of tomato soup,
an 18-wheeler on a dead-end street,
a flashlight without a battery.

I am a misfit.

When I was captain
      I chose kids always chosen last.
My date for the prom was somebody
      nobody else wanted.
While others see basketball scores
      I see him wrinkle his nose if he fouls.

I forgot to--stand for a standing ovation
                --look before Mallards fly away
                --lift my glass to toast friends
and I know why.

I am a poet smothering in prose;
I can paint only in my mind;
I can sing only in my heart.
I am a fork
      in a bowl of tomato soup.

Verna Lee Hinegardner