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February 16, 2009


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Oh, boy, do I hear you, sister!

excellent post. i'd love for you to write more on this subject. reads like the beginning of a longer essay that so many of us are ready for!

When our two daughters were little, we had a little poem that described our experience (my wife, Maureen, is also a poet):


Like soldiers they sleep where they fall.

Wow, sounds like a familiar double standard to me. Is it really surprising that it turns up in academia as well? Of course not, as much as I would like to think literature and writing teachers are above that kind of nonsense.

I agree with you that there is immense value in parenting, in doing it and in letting others see it happen. Families make up our world, but in the US one feels the pressure to separate family life and working life to such a degree that it often feels dysfunctional.

I'm curious, though, about "bad baby art" and if that applies to this discussion somehow. Art always risks being "bad," and I'm guessing in this case that bad means "sentimental." Are baby poems at greater risk of being labeled "bad" more than, say, bird poems, or sonnets?

Again, one would hope friends and readers and editors would be above such nonsense as rejecting a poem based on its subject. But, do baby poems illicit a knee-jerk response? Do they scare people?

What do you think?

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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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This Way Out

by T.P.Winch

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



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