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« The Genius of Bert Williams (by Laura Orem) | Main | Susan M. Schultz on "reader's block" from A Poetics of Impasse in Modern and Contemporary American Poetry [quoted and commented on by John Emil Vincent] »

February 24, 2009


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I love "it is sly ownership," to say nothing of "has verbs in its pocket" (one can well imagine which!) but am less sure about the last line, John.

I am also not sure about it. I've fumbled around with it I think mostly cuz it has some sort of ending weight, but I don't think that is necessary. Will play with it more, thanks much for your comments.

I actually like the last line. When the loss is gone, what is there? I can see removing the "only" though.

I hope this keeps some of the last line's closural heft and gets rid of its over-enunciation and -reaching.

Thank you Susan and Stacey for superb guidance. Dunno I've ever had such smart and quick help on a piece!

Some line breaks seem necessary, but at the moment, I'm just glad, Susan, you've lead me to a final line I like.

Loss lost its appetite? Getting closer, I think.

loss has no appetite is perfect for this reader.

just read this poem out loud to a student in office hours - without having read it at all. moved us both deeply, caught us both by surprise - rare moment of intimacy in the office, like being licked by a cat...


you make it all worth it.



thanks for help with the "only," it was key to really revising the thing.


Yes, your version is best!

Glad to help John. I like the revisions. I'm curious about the title of this post though. Is the poem going to be part of a Jennie Holzer installation? If yes, when?

Hi there,

no, but if I wish hard enough.. the title was meant to suggest the poem's owed debt to a timing and kind of statement Holzer is so great with. To acknowledge the debt, but now that I think about it, it may be far too misleading to be useful as a title.

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



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