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« "Venetian Coda" [by John Koethe] | Main | Waiting. [by Luke Meinzen] »

August 04, 2008


The very poem quoted is commented on by Montcalm Le Bay, a bilingual follower of Proust and precursor of Perec, who wrote "The Book of No Tomorrow" (1939) in which a character named Pierre Troyat wanders in a desert like Simon or Crusoe and wards off hunger and despair by parsing lines of verse that he had committed to memory in his youth. Here is the relevant passage:
"To comprerend a nectar requires sorest need." Not merely ingestion but true understanding of the nectar is called for. What nectar? It could be that of the apricot, or of the gods, but the need for it (whether translated as thirst or habit-forming curiosity born of idleness and leisure and praised like the lasses of youth) is imperative. O, empirical dominance, everyday diary, entire dilemma, exact drama.
(Notice the spinkling of Emily Dickinson's initials in the last sentence.) It is highly probable that the actual nectar contained an opiate.

certainly true what you say about emily's initials. of course there are secret messages throughout her work. i'll have more to say about this in a future post. thanks for your comment!

Terrific post, and it confirms what I've long suspected: that ED was a dormitory tigress, crazy pot-smoking sexy princess. Speaking of her initials, I had a dream in which she commented that her blessed initials, which once stood for "editor," now stand for "erectile dysfunction" and that half the world seems to have it. In the same dream, she talked about what Byron, Shelley, and Keats were like as lovers. I believe Keats was very dear to her through prone to premature ejaculation.

that's very a very interresting dream, david. i also have dreamed about emily as i'm sure many people have. as i mentioned, she had/has a way of really getting into people's heads. i would not be surprsied if she and the poets you mention have been lovers in the upper world. if you see her again, ask her about james dean.

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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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