Monday, April 1, 2019

30 Great Poems for April, Day 1: “Missed Time” by Ha Jin

In celebration of National Poetry Month, all through April I’ll be featuring a favorite poem here every day. Some are classics; some are newer; some are by people I know. Each time I’ll have a link to where you can read the poem online*, which I hope will also give you a monthlong tour of various literary journals and poetry resources around the internet. 

Day 1: “Missed Time’ by Ha Jin

Read “Missed Time” on the Poetry Foundation site here.

Embarrassing admission: Until I ran across this poem a few months ago, I didn’t know Ha Jin wrote poetry. I’m a huge fan of his novel Waiting, which I read maybe 15 years ago, and I’ve always thought of him strictly as a fiction writer. For all these years, Waiting has stuck in my mind for being gently subversive, but also immensely entertaining. Similarly, I love the cleverness of this short poem, “Missed Time,” how he weaves together two contradictory thoughts: a person who is so happy that he has had no need to write about it, and a poem about that fact.
        This poem is like a sliver, the thin edge of a wedge that reminds me that I need to track down more of Ha Jin’s poetry books and find out what else I’ve been missing.

(Honestly, I decided to just link to where the poems are already published because I didn’t want to have to get permission to publish each one on this blog—hey, if 20 years in the music-publishing business taught me anything, it’s that licensing is a pain in the butt.)


  1. Beautiful - thanks, Amy. Even more subversive today than when it was written almost 20 years ago. In this social-media age, how can one be happy without posting about it?