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January 12, 2009

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I grew up on a farm and we didn’t own a television. We rarely went to the movies. (And it seemed that when we did go, my mother and I would laugh at the most serious moments and would sometimes be asked to leave . . .) In fact, in all my years I don’t remember my father ever going to see a film. A child of the depression, he had a kind of anger at what he called American optimism—something he saw as an unavoidable aspect of American films. He used to say that the average American never sees herself as the average American. Because the average American always believes she will be luckier than the average American. And thinner and richer and etc.. Of course only a few get lucky. But in the most popular films, the happy ending is always the one Americans believe in. Of course that’s overly simple and bitter. And that’s a handy-me-down opinion. But I’ve often assumed that the optimism of our films is part of its enchantment. While poetry’s appeal might be a little closer to our human interest and ongoing affair with darkness . . . Of course, I don't really know what I'm saying because no one could be less suited to commentary on films or TV than I . . .

What a great sentence--

<>

p.s.

This is the "sentence" I was praising----

"Poems help us to overcome our vulnerability to star-presence."

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Radio

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


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THE RULE OF THUMB
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Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.

 

 


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