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« For Autumn: Poems by Latino/a/xs: Carmen Gimenez Smith | Main | El dolor no duele, el miedo sí: una entrevista con el poeta Gustavo Barrera Calderón [por Kathleen Heil] »

November 10, 2016


Excellent piece. I love what you say about Merrill -- a great poet -- and about ballroom dancing in Rita's poem. It has often struck me (and Stacey) that two extraordinary poets, Lincoln Kirstein and Edwin Denby, were totally committed to ballet. Poems that perform a dance is one category. And on the other, of course, a dance that is a poem. -- DL

Thanks for the kind words, David. I like Merrill's poems, too. And have the biggest readerly crush on Edwin Denby's dance criticism, which reads to meet as poetry. Here's just one great excerpt of many from Dance Writings and Poetry (Yale University Press, 1998, Robert Cornfield, ed.), about ballerina Alicia Markova:

Her leaps, her way of soaring and gliding, her wonderful lightness in downward motions are unique. But one notices that she tends this season to preserve these graces by lessening the vitality of her dancing, by understating the climaxes. It is as tough a singer were to get the mannerism of taking fortissimos in half-voice, a kind of crooning in ballet. [p. 177]

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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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