Ken Tucker was a guest this week on Craig Ferguson's late night show. Catch all the action here.
". . .the truth is that influence enters us from all sides. It is the chlorine in the flood of experience that spills continuously into the conscious mind. A short-story writer may have been influenced by 18th-century Dutch painting as much as anything else -- or by his mother's cooking. A painter may have been marked by her love of album covers or the childhood love of her cousin. And with that said, I am free to confess that my own poetry would have not developed in the direction it did, for better or worse, were it not for the spell that was cast over me as a boy by Warner Bros. cartoons. The very first time I heard the pulse-quickening blast of the zany theme music by Carl Stalling -- enough to bring any American boy to attention -- and saw the colorful bull's-eye emblazoned on the big screen, I was hooked."
-- For more from Billy Collins's Wall Street Journal piece "Inspired by a Bunny Wabbit" (June 28, 2008), click here.
". . . all the characters bring out various sides to us. Daffy Duck is sort of the manic, blabbering, fearless one. Bugs Bunny is the clever, ironic, sardonic, wry, foxy, outwitting one. And Porky's a little pathetic. He's the only one who's actually married--if that's the state that these characters are in. He's the only one with a life partner, let's put it that way: Petunia, who tends to be a nag. Strangely, there's only one human in this whole thing, which is Elmer Fudd."
-- Click here for more of Billy Collins's interview with Marc Sanchez, "Cartoons and Poetry" (from Weekend America, September 20, 2008).
Just got off the phone with Donald Hall, who is "back to writing" after a depressing hiatus lasting two and a half years. He writes every morning, mainly "going over poems" begun months ago. The New Yorker took one, The Atlantic took two, of the new ones. "It's wonderful to be working again."
Don has a new memoir, Unpacking the Boxes, and was reading from it the other day. The unfurling of a scroll with a lot of "whereas" clauses from the Governor of New Hampshire culminated in the proclamation that September 20, 2008, is officially Donald Hall Day. "And it's a school holiday," Don said. Saturday!
Donald Hall pictured here with his wife, the late Jane Kenyon
Donald Hall was born on this day in 1928. As guest editor of The Best American Poetry 1989 -- the second volume in the series -- he taught me much about the making of an anthology. As a man of letters, who felt as comfortable writing a profile of Henry Moore or a sports story about the Boston Celtics as a romantic poem for Jane or an essay in literary appreciation, he proved that the life of a poet and the career of professional writer could coincide. He worked in a variety of genres and wrote for periodicals as different from one another as The Paris Review and Sports Illustrated, The Boston Globe and Yankee and showed by his example that all the writing you do helps all the other writing you do, and all the styles and forms of writing are valid: the interview, the children's story or poem, the textbook, the diatribe, the anecdote, the blessedly unself-centered memoir in which the emphasis is on Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound. Join me in saluting this masterly poet, teacher, editor, writer. -- DL
To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
into debris on the shore,
and a friend from school drops
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us
past middle age, our wife will die
at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.
-- Donald Hall
The frog at the edge
of the pond sits, poised to leap.
All's quiet. Then: splash!
The butterfly dips
its wings in aroma of
gorgeous wild orchid.
First you see the pond.
Then you hear the belching frog.
And then comes the splash.
No one on this road
but me: it must be autumn
in the dark country.
Frog at pond's edge sits,
waits, ready to make its leap.
All's quiet. Then: splash!
The spring night vanished
while we talked among cherry
blossoms and petals.
The pond is tranquil
but for the frond where the frog
leaps into its splash.
Winter blows its white
storms across the hills: even
monkeys need raincoats.
Even in Kyoto
How I long for Kyoto
When I hear that bird.
[free versions by DL]
"Dry bob" is often associated with George Gordon, Lord Byron, who in Don Juan satirically linked the term to Robert Southey. But in fact "dry bob" existed well before Byron. It refers to "male coition without emission" -- or as Meat Loaf eloquently expressed it it, "all dressed up with nowhere to go."
Isn't the United States presently stuck with a painfully throbbing "dry bob"? Even before the Wall Street crisis there was immense undirected anger on the part of the prols -- perhaps even a genuine revolutionary impulse. The nomination of Sarah Palin brilliantly tapped into this. And now with the Wall Street crisis -- which everyone knows about and nobody understands -- the anger and confusion is much greater. However, there won't be a revolution, there can't be one, and there shouldn't be one. What should there be instead? No one knows. It's very frustrating. Why, it's a big ol' "dry bob."
Here's a video of a girl getting her hair bobbed. Fast forward to get through the garbage at the start and then it's kind of nice. A good example of a whole vast category of hair fetish videos --
Meat Loaf and Luciano Pavarotti sing a duet:
Body my house
my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen
Where will I sleep
How will I ride
What will I hunt
Where can I go
without my mount
all eager and quick
How will I know
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure
when Body my good
bright dog is dead
How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door
and wind for an eye
With cloud for shift
how will I hide?
– May Swenson
Some interpretations of Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah," including a really great one by Leonard Cohen himself. "Age cannot wither him, etc...." (Why do people think this song belongs to Jeff Buckley? Because he sang it on the soundtrack of "Shreck"?! Good Christ.)
Always a plus when there's a slight foreign accent:
Leonard Cohen (about 400 views):
Plus, a cat video! (about 1,300,000 views):
“A good photograph is knowing where to stand” Ansel Adams
During our June residency at Antioch University Los Angeles, poet Carol Potter spoke about how poets can benefit from the techniques of fiction.
Potter’s lecture put me in mind of one of my favorite fiction-tools for poetry: vantage point—how (to paraphrase Ansel Adams) a good poem is also about knowing where to stand.
Lately, I’ve been fascinated by poets who write fiction and story-tellers who write poetry. For instance, Wendall Berry (poet) has a fine story in the latest Hudson Review. D.H. Lawrence is often honored by the epithet “not a bad poet”. Raymond Carver (storyteller?) and Tess Gallagher (poet?) are the two genres’ most famous salt-and-pepper shakers.
When I’m reading a poem, I like to look at beginnings. I even have a nickname for poem-starts: I call them “the handshake”. A solid handshake can do a lot of narrative and vocal work.
Here we are again. A fresh start. The sounds of morning. The sounds of children, endlessly fulfilling, except the sounds of sad, bothered children.
I wake up thinking about words. I am interested in the way writers use words to think about art. In David Cohen's review of John Ashbery's collage show (The New York Sun 9/4/08), one realizes he is almost daunted by the knowledge that the greatest word-user of our time will be reading with interest. My favorite sentence in Cohen's review, in speaking of the collages of another artist/writer, Mario Naves, contains the phrase: "...in drawing upon detritus whose desuetude survives the alchemy of its artistic transmogrification." This is exciting writing, it wakes you up, whether or not the critical determination is accurate. You realize that an important part of criticism is precision in using words. I believe many people think you only need to learn the correct terminology and then slot the art into the terms. The problem is that good artists have no interest in terms and are constantly trying to get us to redefine our terms, or rather, to show us that our terms are useful only up to a point. That is why the best criticism does not make use of preconceived terms of discourse but rather uses everyday language to try to translate what the artist is doing.
After seeing Claude Chabrol's Girl Cut In Two last night with Karen Koch, we went to Le Zie for dinner, where we ran into Irving and Lucy Sandler. Irving interviewed Jerry Saltz in the curent Brooklyn Rail, and it is a very interesting account of how Saltz became a critic. (Saltz' piece in a recent New York on the Catalan restaurant El Bulli is highly entertaining). Saltz in the interview says that he feels the need to visit the Met regularly, always finding something he had not noticed earlier, whereas with the Frick, he only needs to visit it twice a year, just as one needs to hear the opening bars of "Gimme Shelter" a couple of times a year. I loved that comparison, and it got me thinking, again, about Popular Song, about which more later.
of agony one cocked
One ran while
the other clocked
One man one
woman: thy will
and she be true
though not to you,
-- David Lehman
Originally in Boulevard (2008).
On September 12, NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg addressed the ServiceNation Summit, which brought together 500 leaders from a wide cross-section of American life to celebrate the power and potential of citizen service and to address America's social challenges through volunteer and national service. In his remarks, Mayor Bloomberg cited philospher William James's "pioneering argument for wide-scale, voluntary national service in his [essay, 'The Moral Equivalent of War.'" Bloomberg may have had this passage in mind:
"Such a conscription [to National Service] with the state of public opinion that would have required it, and the many moral fruits it would bear, would preserve in the midst of a pacific civilization the manly virtues which the military party is so afraid of seeing disappear in peace. We should get toughness without callousness, authority with as little criminal cruelty as possible, and painful work done cheerily because the duty is temporary, and threatens not, as now, to degrade the whole remainder of one's life. I spoke of the "moral equivalent" of war. So far, war has been the only force that can discipline a whole community, and until an equivalent discipline is organized, I believe that war must have its way. But I have no serious doubt that the ordinary prides and shames of social man, once developed to a certain intensity, are capable of organizing such a moral equivalent as I have sketched, or some other just as effective for preserving manliness of type. It is but a question of time, of skillful propagandism, and of opinion-making men seizing historic opportunities."
Earlier in the essay, James observes:
"Reflective apologists for war at the present day all take it religiously. It is a sort of sacrament. It's profits are to the vanquished as well as to the victor; and quite apart from any question of profit, it is an absolute good, we are told, for it is human nature at its highest dynamic. Its "horrors" are a cheap price to pay for rescue from the only alternative supposed, of a world of clerks and teachers, of co-education and zo-ophily, of "consumer's leagues" and "associated charities," of industrialism unlimited, and feminism unabashed. No scorn, no hardness, no valor any more! Fie upon such a cattleyard of a planet!"
Read the essay, first published in 1906, here.
Just Walking Around
What name do I have for you?
Certainly there is no name for you
In the sense that the stars have names
That somehow fit them. Just walking around,
An object of curiosity to some,
But you are too preoccupied
By the secret smudge in the back of your soul
To say much and wander around,
Smiling to yourself and others.
It gets to be kind of lonely
But at the same time off-putting.
Counterproductive, as you realize once again
That the longest way is the most efficient way,
The one that looped among islands, and
You always seemed to be traveling in a circle.
And now that the end is near
The segments of the trip swing open like an orange.
There is light in there and mystery and food.
Come see it.
Come not for me but it.
But if I am still there, grant that we may see each other.
-- John Ashbery
John Ashbery is one of the poets scheduled to read at the Best American Poetry 2008 reading at the New School's Tishman Auditorium (66 West 12 Street in NYC) on Thursday evening, September 25, at 7 PM.
The week is cresting, and I feel good. I woke up apprehensively on Monday. Tuesday, I woke again with problems that needed resolving. Yesterday, things were worked out somewhat. Today, the pile of papers on my desk has not diminished, but there is the sense, as Frank O'Hara writes at the end of "Joe's Jacket" of being ready (of course he was speaking of a Monday, well, it's something to strive for).
I am back in Black Mountain: lectures coming up on the artists (SVA) and the poets (The New School). Reading John Wieners, amazed by the way his lines seem so courtly and classical, while at the same time being smeared with the bodily fluids of outlaw life and love.
Again to smell what this calm
ocean cannot tell us. The seasons.
Only the heart remembers
and records in the words
we lay down for those men
who can come to them.
I love the way he bends the meanings, so that "we lay down for those men" stands on it its own, while simultaneously being part of the phrase "works we lay down for those man who can..." Works suggests poems, and men who can come to them (If Olson or Williams were writing this) would men mean who can understand. Here "come to them" has an undeniably sexual overtone. I also like the way, if you take the last sentence as a whole, the heart remembers and records, but the poem does not tell us what it records. It is a sentence without an object, leaving it open for each reader to make his or her own recording of the moment, while reading or remembering this poem. There is something formally beautiful and stylistically modern about the encasing of the rhymes words/works and calm/come.
More later, it's time for breakfast.
Julia Cohen filed this review of the opening night of the Fall 2008 KGB Monday Night Poetry Series hosted by Michael Quattrone and Laura Cronk:
With a defunct microphone, there aren't two better voices to fill a room and jump start the new KGB reading season than those belonging to Janice Erlbaum and Kevin Young. Yet, while both are performative and engaging poets, the focus of their poetics center on very different issues. Erlbaum's background is in memoir writing, and her poems speak to the human tendency to rationalize and normalize bizarre social tensions and patters that develop from the modern day workforce and marriage. Young's poems range from blues-based love songs to poems with a country western slant (hello Johnny Cash and Gram Parsons), and from elegies to odes for everyday things (hello homemade wine and hominy), which meditate on the meaning of and inextricable link between family, home, heritage, death and grief, racism, tradition, and American history.
Following an introduction from Star Black, Erlbaum opened with two sestinas that varied widely in tone. The first, "The Temp," humorously explores the new phenomena of 'the office husband,' the surrogate and platonic partner of the workplace. As Erlbaum confirms, "He belongs to you, / Like the menu you stow in your desk." While playfully describing how "the desk is your bed, the bed is your desk," this poem jabs at the pervasive commitment to overtime and excessive dedication to ones job, which can misguide your priorities and distance you from your legal spouse, you know- the one you go home to at the end of the day. Before reading, "How Do Married People Masturbate," Elbaum cunningly admits, "I wrote this poem before I was married, but now I know." Here, she speaks to the tension, loneliness, and insecurity that can surface in a relationship when the quest for a little bit of 'personal space' collides with your partner's desire to always offer the sexual gratification you, well, just sometimes want to find alone.
There are some poets whose work you might find easier to understand when read on the page and other poets whose work you better connect with when heard out loud. The poets I'm most impressed with are those who, like Young, transcend these categories. While his spoken poems engulf you and draw you in (tongue-in-cheek word play, colloquial language, and welcome references to his personal history), the span of the written text, like the five sections that compose his newly released Dear Darkness (Feb 2008), cohere into a complex network of cultural and political observation and engagement.
-- Julia Cohen
Yesterday, as I walked through Central Park, having taken the C train uptown, on my way to the Met, I thought of a poem I wrote, in another century seemingly, on my way to another exhibition at the Met: of the certainty that seeing that exhibition would affect me:
...a sunny October Monday
in Central Park, I wait to enter Corot, for I know
he will change the entire day's outlook
Yesterday it was to see Morandi, and I had the same anticipatory feeling, that Morandi, with his restricted set of visions, would somehow overpower my sense of looking, and I was right. It was a press preview, and for that had an unusual feeling instead of an opening, in particular an opening in Europe at the turn of the last century. I kept seeing Duncan Hannah, obviously enjoying himself, lingering there in the presence of these muted, understated works. Morandi chose his format early: the still life, classic visual situation from art and life, yet he imbued it with something strange. His work is not realistic but metaphysical. I was reminded often of the Portuguese author José Saramago. There is a sense of the world's limitations but also that the vessels in this circumscribed world take on living presence. This is partly because of the way he painted, with a trembling, yet precise stroke. The paint is living and captivates the willing eye. On the other end of the spectrum, Morandi can remind you of Gorey, the sense of beakers as animals, inanimate forms creepily stirring in the half-shadows. On the purely technical level, they are great paintings; one feels sure Guston saw and learned a lot from them. One etching gives the precise feeling of Italian heat on landscape. His last signed painting, done in 1964 shortly before his death, is in the exhibition, with a fantastic note to his friend, the critic Roberto Longhi: "If you only knew, my dear Longhi, how badly I want to work. I have new ideas that I wish to develop." It is comforting to have evidence of the satisfaction that making art can give.
Today, it was a different exhibition at a different museum: Van Gogh's night paintings at MoMA. I thought, well, that's life, yesterday's news covered up by today's. Surely, Van Gogh's vibrancy will obliterate the quiet pleasures of the Bolognese. But I was wrong. Van Gogh of course is always excellent. Today, I felt the sadness of his story more, the constant searching and longing, and the turbulence in the center of Starry Night somehow frightened me. But Morandi's different vision did not go away.
Also on view: collages by John Ashbery and paintings by Trevor Winkfield at Tibor de Nagy Gallery. Both terrific, and an excellent pairing. A fabulous afternoon in an ice-cream parlor.
In the meantime, I realize I have always loved the space around and inside of the Met and have written other poems there, such as "La Traviata," dedicated to Rene Ricard, whom I count as a friend, though I don't see him often:
The conversation the two coffee servers
are having at the temple of Dendur —
"There was something on it in the Times today"
"Where did you meet her, in a bar?" —
is suddenly much more interesting
than the overblown exhibition you have come to see
While in "World Premiere Of A Lost Masterpiece," dedicted to Burckhardt, we find that:
Before the rain, I was pondering de Kooning's doors
and windows into Roxy's correspondence
the latter a reference to a large installation by Ed Kienholz at the Whitney.
A very early poem written in front of the Met:
What we said
was said well;
what we shared
is better left unsaid;
of a magic dream
on a bench
in front of
like it used
of a ro-
in my mind,
More soon, to see and hear.
"In his bullet-pointed introduction to this year's volume in this popular annual anthology series, prolific Pulitzer winner [Charles] Wright makes it known that he is interested in emotional intensity, and its capacity to give poems shape and beauty, more than in any particular aesthetic camp: "cleverness is not what endures. Only pain endures. And the rhythm of pain." Poems here might be called confessional, hip, avant-garde, edgy and conservative. Powerful if hairy poems by Marvin Bell, Alex Lemon and D. Nurkse are good examples of the range of what Wright likes, as is Rae Armantrout's stark and hurting elegy for Robert Creeley: "The present is cupped//by a small effort/ of focus—// its muscular surround.// You're left out." Many of the usual suspects—Ashbery, Glück, Merwin, Graham, Charles Simic—are represented by strong poems. Also here are representatives of the generation now entering mid-career, like D.A. Powell, Natasha Trethewey and Kevin Young. Some of the most exciting poems come from writers whose stars are still rising, such as an extraordinary meditation on love by Mary Szybist: "The Puritans thought that we are granted the ability to love/ Only through miracle,/ But the troubadours knew how to burn themselves through,/ How to make themselves shrines to their own longing." (Publishers Weekly, Sept.)
Order your copy here.
Like everyone else, I've been avidly listening to all the election-year hubbub. No matter what your political affliation, it is heady to realize you are witnessing an historical event: the presidential campaign of the first African-American candidate for a major political party. Neat stuff, especially when you realize that it was only 40 or so years ago that it was common to see film clips of civil rights protestors flattened by firehoses on the nightly news.
Over the weekend, I watched "In the Heat of the Night" again (gotta love Turner Classic Movies). I hadn't seen it in a while, and I'd forgotten what a terrific film it is. Released in 1967, the story is complex and compelling beneath its deceptively simple plot: murder in a small town. Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) is passing through Sparta, Mississippi, when he is accused of the killing of a local businessman. Chief Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) doesn't know what to make of this man, especially after he finds out that, not only is he a detective, he is a forensic science expert (we'd call him a CSI now). Once it's been established that Tibbs is not the murderer, Gillespie, who above all is a cop, realizes he is in over his head and needs Tibbs to help him solve the murder. (A footnote - the producers decided against filming in the actual town of Sparta, Mississippi; it was judged to be too dangerous. Instead, the movie was shot in Sparta, Illinois.)
There isn't a misplaced step in this entire film. The director, Norman Jewison, resisted the temptation to turn all the Mississippi characters into ignorant yahoos and Tibbs into a noble, flawless defender of justice. Even the most minor characters are layered and complicated. Take for example, Harvey Oberst (played by the fabulous and underappreciated Scott Wilson), who is accused of the murder after Tibbs is cleared. Tibbs knows Oberst isn't guilty, either; Oberst starts out railing against the indignity of having a black man in the cell with him, but then, after he realizes Tibbs is, as Poitier puts, "all you've got," he grudgingly answers his questions, and later, goes out of his way to help him. Even in this character, there is change and development. And every part, no matter how small, is cast with a superb actor -- a lot of them whose names you might not know, but whose faces are familiar.
In the scene below, Tibbs and Gillespie visit the local bigwig, Eric Endicott (played by Larry Gates), whom Tibbs suspects is the murderer. (Another note - the butler is played by Jester Hairston, who, among his many other achievements in acting and music, played Tom Robinson's father Spence in "To Kill a Mockingbird.") Steiger's Gillespie in this scene is a marvel: caught in the conflict of his conscience and his environment and upbringing. The scene not only shows what violence lurks beneath the thin veneer of culture; it show how Tibbs ("like the rest of us," Steiger says) is capable of letting his emotions get in the way of the investigation. That "like the rest of us" is key to the whole movie. It is when Steiger's character really gets it -- that Tibbs is indeed just like him: impassioned and flawed, but wanting to get it right. And Tibbs suddenly gets it, too - that he and Gillespie are more alike than they are different.
Days of 1896
He became completely degraded. His erotic tendency,
condemned and strictly forbidden
(but innate for all that), was the cause of it:
society was totally prudish.
He gradually lost what little money he had,
then his social standing, then his reputation. --
Nearly thirty, he had never worked a full year --
at least not at a legitimate job.
Sometimes he earned enough to get by
acting the go-between in deals considered shameful.
He ended up the type likely to compromise you thoroughly
if you were seen around with him often.
But this isn’t the whole story – that would not be fair.
The memory of his beauty deserves better.
There is another angle; seen from that
he appears attractive, appears
a simple, genuine child of love,
without hesitation putting,
above his honor and reputation,
the pure sensuality of his pure flesh.
Above his reputation? But society,
prudish and stupid, had it wrong.
Translated from the Greek by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard
I was thinking of the "Monday, Monday" song from yesterday, and it occurred to me that that idea derives from an old blues song and that the artists of the 1960s maintained a link to the great singers and songwriters from the past that seems to have been ruptured now. Since the '70s, we have had the liberty to go back and utilize art from any period in our art, but simultaneously our memories have grown shorter and shorter due to the constantly increasing influx of information, so that, a few years ago, artists were content simply to mimic what they saw on television or the net and think their job was done. Now, there has been a slight reaction to that, in the form of slackerism, outsiderism, which seems to take a more political stance, anti-media, but without much recourse to move it in any positive direction. Maybe we could call it Jellyfishism, in which the artist is content to float aimelessly finding food whenever it happens to brush against it. I am thinking more of the visual arts than of poetry. Poets, by nature word-users, tend to read a lot. Since the '90s, there has been a lot of poetry that is highly reflective of diverse reading material. There has also been poetry reflective of television and the net. Hopefully, it gets put through a poetic filter and not just spewed back verbatim. There are two problems with the reflective method: one is that it was introduced long ago, the other is that now we are submerged in information, whereas earlier the newspaper was just one of many items one encountered during the day. More on isms a little later. Notice your day!
John Ashbery's collages at Tibor de Nagy (724 Fifth Avenue) received handsome coverage from Holland Cotter in yesterday's New York Times, and the paper also put up a slide show, which you can see if you click here.
Ah, ah, Monday, Monday. Ah, ah, don't like that day. Actually, I've grown fond of it. I used to feel, waking on Mondays, that a tidal wave or steamroller was set to descend on me, but now I wake up at about 6:30 ready to live the week. Meditating helps, then I wake up my kids, and I am reminded, it's not about me. In fact, it's really not about me, and that's very exciting. Rudy Burckhardt wrote something I love, which is that every morning he would wake up feeling like a speck in the universe, of no significance, then his wife would smile at him, his son would crack a joke, and life would begin again. He realized he could do something, maybe paint or make a film. I am excited that Burckhardt has a show opening at the Met ("New York, N. Why? : Photographs by Rudy Burckhardt, 1937-1940") on September 23. It will be his second museum show in New York this year. Maybe Rudy Burckhardt has finally "made it" into the photographic canon. Of course, he already made it, decades ago, probably the day Edwin Denby wandered into Burckhardt's atelier in Basel and asked for a passport photo. Burckhardt was 20, Denby 31. Soon, I will go out into the July-like heat to a press preview of another Met exhibition, paintings by Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964). I've been thinking about what "making it" means, also how poetry is a renewable resource, the Black Mountain school, Pound and Vorticism, the Oresteia, John Ashbery's collages, but now I must go. I will return.
To Your Pink
Your pink dress pleases me. The way it clings
to your tits, juts your throat, shows off your pits,
and coats you like a swarm of wet bee wings,
bee wings from wet pink bees. It really fits
you well, this satin dress. Where’d you get it?
Did you shed it, like a pink snake, in your sleep,
find it on the floor, decide to slip it
on this evening to make sure I’d want to peel
it off you again tonight? Where’d this pink
come from: flowers, nipples, Venus’s plate?
Or did it arise like a blush in your cheeks,
and then whelm your figure, just to desecrate
the modesty that tinted it? I doubt,
actually, your pink is that devout.
after Theophile Gautier’s "A une robe rose"
– Jason Camlot
KGB Monday Night Poetry Reading Series
Hosted by Laura Cronk & Michael Quattrone
With original hosts Star Black & David Lehman
Monday, September 15, 2008
JANICE ERLBAUM is the author of Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir (Villard, 2006), and Have You Found Her: A Memoir (Villard, 2008). She was a contributor to Bust magazine from 1994 through 2007. Her poems have appeared in McSweeney’s and the Best American Erotic Poems: From 1800 to the Present. She lives in her native New York City with her domestic partner, Bill Scurry, and their three cats.
KEVIN YOUNG is the author of five previous collections of poetry. His book Jelly Roll was a finalist or the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and won the Paterson Poetry Prize. His most recent collection, For the Confederate Dead, won the 2007 Quill Award for poetry. He has also been the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, and is currently the Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing and curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University in Atlanta.
KGB Bar ● 85 East 4th Street (between Bowery & 2nd Ave.) ● New York, NY 10003 ● Phone: 212-505-3360
I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman
THE RULE OF THUMB
Ringfinger was nervous
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.