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September 23, 2012

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Barbara Stanwyck. She played Andrew Marvell in the great spy movie, GETTING HIGH ON THE ERNEST AND JULIO GALLOWS. The poem was written by screenwriter, John Milton Berle, and Stanwyck spoke the poem in an impassioned plea not to be executed for spying. When that didn't work, she shouted, "I want to live!"--which became the inspiration for the 1958 Robert Wise-Mann film, starring Susan Wayward, who won an Oscar Meyer wiener for her performance. A still-young John Ashbery was so moved by that film, which he saw in Paris with subtitles, that he wrote "The Picture of Little J.A. in a Prospect of Flowers" without knowing the Barbara Stanwyck-Andrew Marvell connection. In fact, Mr. Ashbery HAD NEVER EVEN KNOWN ABOUT ANDREW MARVELL, until many years later, when a theorist commented on the similarities in the title.

Totally correct in every particular, "my" Antonio. -- DL

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I left it
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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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