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« Some cinematic suggestions [by David Lehman] | Main | Squibs 404-408 [by Alan Ziegler] »

March 27, 2020


Didn't know you spent two summers in Oxford, David, this one plus 1969 when I visited you at your flat in Jericho. That boisterous spaghetti dinner was a long way from ours here at home last night, sheltering in our Berkeley place, but it rhymes none the less.

What a marvelous essay this is! Thank you! I spent the summer of my junior year in 1980 on this very same "Oxford Summer Seminar" organized by the University of Massachusetts. It was paradise. We went to Stratford and saw As You Like It. Christopher Ricks gave us a hypnotic lecture on Bob Dylan's "Tarantula." I lived in Trinity College and had to share one shower and one toilet with 11 other girls. There were no fruits or vegetables to eat, but endless tea. I became anemic and fainted in a doctor's waiting room. I took a novel writing workshop, and Bryan Garner was in my class! Who knew he would go on to become one of the world's leading experts in English usage: back then he was a skinny young man from west Texas. I went to the Bodelian Reading Room to do my homework. Everyone was sleeping with someone else in the program, fellow student or faculty. Except me.

Thank you for this lovely comment. -- DL

I keep trying to remember what else happened in August 69. As I remember, others there included Kenneth L., a senior at Princeton, and Peter W., who had just graduated from Harvard, and -- I draw a blank. Bryn Mawr? Barnard? I never liked British beer until I bought bottles of Courage and Worthington and refrigerated them. Didn't we drink some? -- DL

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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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