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September 07, 2011


Hey Leslie. Interesting insights into the judging of this year's contest, and I like how you describe (in part 1) White's poems as having a simultaneous Zen sensibility and postmodern worldview -- paradoxical, to my understanding. Looking forward to the book when it releases.

Hi Damon. Thanks for the comment.
They *do* seem paradoxical, don't they? And yet White has found a way for his poems to hold them both. It's one of the reasons good poetry works. It can hold truth, the quotidian, paradox, the whole boxful of our felt existence.

The other post won't accept my response Leslie, so I'll post it here.

Oops, I fink I got it wrong again dad..

Sorry Leslie, I worked out what was going on, I wrote a response to you on the other post and it wouldn't appear, until I cottoned on it was because the post was, way, way too long. I had fun writing it though, these last few hours, watchig Anderson on CNN.

I love the short poem as well. It's interesting to hear how Mike took on the detailed feedback from last year and changed the manuscript to suit the taste of the judges. 20-25 attempts, at $25 a time, is 500 bucks. He could have two out from Gatza for that. On which point, I thought the guy giving out about BlazeVox and the subsequent hooha, was great fun to read. There's a whole army of poets in America out here, all playing this game that what their poems are somehow written atop of holy altars by the hand of god, instead of at cramped desks at the dry and dusty academic sausage factories churning out these deluded people who come across more like accounts than poets. The deeply serious manner in which we must consider their works, the funniest being that half of 'em have all sorts of filth and profanity in it, poems about two people getting it on, that leave us wondering, is it me, or is this just all very poor quality. Oh no, it's ironical and it must be good coz the person who wrote it is a seventh degree Langpo expert who can tell you where every comma in Meltzer collides with the white space in the No Name poem by Carles Bernstein. Oh, look, they are wearing rectabgular glasses without rims and a scarve around their neck, with a frown on their face, reading with all the showbiz skills of an accountant at the altar delivering a weekly breakdown of the numbers. It must be AmPo at it's best.

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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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