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July 21, 2009


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Love it. Tried the dance.

Donald whosis is a fine performer, but I can't take my eyes off Gene Kelly.

p.s. Check out for more crimes against language, captured in photos.

I love this scene, . Just when you think the dance might end, at around 3:25, it goes on for another minute! They're practically levitating. Plus, for a long time I've coveted those vowel posters. I. want. them.

thanks for posting this poem -- i can't wait to read it to C tomorrow!

Laura, I enjoy your comments on having fun when writing. I'm writing a poem a day this summer, and I've been following Bill Stafford's admonition, which was, to just write the poem and not worry about it so much. Which is very freeing in and of itself.

I've always been suspicious of those essays by poets that explain their intentions, why they had to write the poem, how they thought it through, etc. The importance of being Ernest is how those things read to me.

I think all that comes AFTER the poem has at least arrived on the page. I keep finding myself saying, "Oh, look at that. Who knew?" Then, and only then can I begin to think about what to do about it.

As for what children (and some adults) enjoy, check out my poem "Haley the Herpatologist" on my blog for one of those sound poems. I used it in a children's writing workshop this summer and the kids loved it.

What I'd have to say in one of those serious essays is that I was asked to introduce some kids to writing poems, so, to get ready I decided to sit down and play around, having fun with words.

The sweet accidental result (okay, so maybe that phrase will show up in today's daily poem) is that there was a little girl named Haley in the group. She is 8 years old and glowed with excitement at the idea of a poem with her name in it. Poetry became personal for her. How nice is that?


Dear Laura--

I *still* find myself reciting this, at odd moments. I always especially liked the switch to initials in the last verse. But I'm wondering if there isn't a line/lines missing, in the last verse, and also in the first verse? That is, I want to (chant under my breath): " J. J. / said to his M****/ "M*****," he said, said he.

And, likewise, in the first verse after "Though he was only three": James James / Said to his mother / "Mother," he said, said he..."

You understand.

I can get all pedantic about why I think the rhythms require it, but my four-year-old self simply insists it GOES that way.

Yours in the common pursuit,


JSC - you could be right. I couldn't find the book and pulled the poem off the Internet. And you're not being pedantic -in fact, you're emphasizing my point that we're hard-wired for music, and when it goes awry, we notice!

Greeting(s) from more of me to more of you with no one between but a pound of hard flesh. History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind. Help me! I wrote "The Banquet Years" and now people don't know from Wilhelm Apollinaire. Did I? Did you? She! She!

Dear L:
I somehow missed this post last summer, but enjoyed it (though the clip won't work any longer, it seems).

Since October, I have been serving as "poet-in-residence" for the 14 high schools of Howard County, MD. It's been a terrific experience, and my main goal has been to suggest to these kids that poetry can be fun. Using a lot of audio material (which also saves my voice), I'm more or less going with the intersection of poetry and music as my prevailing approach. Maybe I'll do a post and include some of the audio stuff.

But are you saying that "The Waste Land" isn't funny?

yrs, T

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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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