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« The Best American Poetry 2020: Series Editor David Lehman, Guest Editor Paisley Rekdal | Main | Danusha Lameris Draws an Ace [by Ace Boggess] »

August 07, 2020


Charming set of tales. The Modeh ani, recited by observant Jews on waking before getting out of bed — with its Kabbalist origins — is an interesting and humbling expression of thanks and dependence, and at the same time an expression of a recharged battery ready to tackle the daily tasks and problems. A kind of eternal recurrence that tamps down hubris while empowering one to go forward.

Judaism tends toward a middle way: Ideas/belief/faith alone is insufficient, pace Protestants; works and acts alone are also insufficient, pace Catholics. Instead, a fully engaged praxis, as Marx remembered, one that progresses through sacrifice, like Moses who sacrifices himself so that the rest can go forward.

Thank you for this very thoughtful comment. -- DL

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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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