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« Myth(ologies) in the Making in Chicago [by Stacey Harwood] | Main | "Sexism" in Two Languages [by David Lehman, trans. Saulius Vasiliauskas] »

February 17, 2018


Amazing exchange. I have been reading I Am Flying into Myself and loving it, but now I feel I may be violating Knott's wishes. I never met him, but as a young poet I loved The Naomi Poems (by the mysterious Saint Geraud), Nights of Naomi, and Auto-Necrophilia, all of which I still have. He was brilliant and original.

Ha! Perfect. And sad. And so, so relatable.

Knott loved one of my poems and published it on his blog near the end of his life...and then disgustedly condemned everything else I ever sent him. But I cherish the two following comments (both of which I definitely take as unintended compliments):

why are they so different from each other? based on the work you've sent me I think the problem you face, that you should be confronting and struggling with in your writing, is lack of consistency. These two poems seem to have been written by two poets who don't know each other.

you seem to be on some other planet; don't you ever read the Best American Poetry annual anthologies, or the Pushcart? you can't live in a vacuum.

I, too, would cherish those comments. Terrific. Thanks for posting them.-- DL

Terrence, as someone who knew him, a little, I believe he would have enjoyed--privately--your gentle incursions. The echo, in the email exchanges, of the Pushcart Prize makes me think that Bill had been nominated many times for that nod, but never received it?

Thank you, David! This is a truly wonderful piece and captures the true Bill Knott essence. I have been thinking so much about his "Minor Poem" given the tragic deaths in Parkland...

Minor Poem

The only response
to a child's grave is
to lie down before it and play dead

Pretty amazing, Denise.

I love this, David.

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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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