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May 31, 2011


Another way to look at "I"-- much contemporary poetry by women is written in the intimate voice of the I-- including my own because we are laying claim to our experience of the world. Eve may have been enlightened by the serpent to claim her power. She paid a heavy price-- that she/we/women are still paying in theology-- we are blamed for the fall of humankind, scapegoated.

I agree that self-obsession leads to a dead end, as if there were no fuller, greater world. But the "I" in poetry has taken a real beating when it has been the witness-bearing voice, as in Diving Into the Wreck-- the voice of the "quotidian" I heard a fly buzz when I died... and the voice that praises the mystery of existence: I celebrate myself and sing paraphrase. And the debate rages on... xj

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


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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