Shana Youngdahl

False-color satellite image of the Yukon Delta, Alaska, USA
2017 Hearst Fellow
Poet and Author
Farmington, ME

Research at AAS

After the Maine Tin Min Company Prospectus, 1880

The earth has veins we can
open with our hammers.
Follow the cassiterite crystals
down where the iron dark
is picked by the swings
of men who name minerals
by the feel of them on damp
fingers, the bands of elvan
quartzite like the rough
footprints of mythical
man, or the smooth track
Of native silver, or gold
Ore floating in the salty
Rubbish of St. Just. Imagine
Fellow capitalists, what
Enterprise can find
Rose colored mica, purple
Fluor spar, tourmaline,
And a thin river of
Tin Ore imbedded among
calc spar crystals, follow
that river, I say, crack
the vein open.


To Find the Center of a Circle from a Part of the Circumference

Which is all I am really after, the path to the midpoint
and how to get there from this little arch
of my hand I’m told to span the dividers any distance
and with one foot on the circumference
describe the semi-circumferences: today pollen and blue sky,
book bound in navy cloth and draped with black
velvet. The ache in my wrist, throat and head dull
like the birdsong we stop hearing weeks ago.
I’m trying to find the center: the point I can cut from.
I pencil out two indefinite lines and lean
under this dome into the illuminated center.
Someone a very long time ago, told me to call point P.
There is comfort in such specifics, but still I feel
like all the unwound clocks that fill old buildings;
there is something I am supposed to do, but
in the fog I am unfocused, turn my head
to another arch and am led away.

About the Fellow

Shana Youngdahl is a poet, professor, and fiction writer. Shana loves helping young people embrace the stories they need to tell. Educated at Mills College and The University of Minnesota, Shana teaches writing at the University of Maine-Farmington, where she has also directed the Longfellow Young Writers Workshop, and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. The author of several poetry chapbooks and one volume of poems, her debut novel As Many Nows As I Can Get, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2019, and a New York Public Library top-ten book of 2019 (Dial/Penguin Teen). She’s received fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society and the Iowa Arts Council. Click here to read other poems written by Shana Youngdahl.

Quick Links

Catalog | Login | Digital A-Z


Monday: 9-5
Tuesday: 10-5
Wednesday: 9-5
Thursday: 9-5
Friday: 9-5

Keep in Touch

Link to AAS Facebook Link to AAS TwitterLink to AAS BlogLink to AAS Instagram   Link to AAS YouTube