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« "One Thousand Words about Harry Mathews" [by Mary Maxwell] | Main | The Many Faces of "Oy!" [by Mitch Sisskind] »

February 14, 2021


Cornelius eady never fails to deliver. What a great sucker punch. I feel it.

He knows the trouble we've seen!

Splendid photo accompaniment.

BAM! delightfully savvy and insightful...

Wonderful! Evocative and amusing. (could this morph into a musical number?)

I will embrace "spare parts" after reading this meditation on how everything can goe wrong when you're a renter turned owner.

There’s a sadness here, something raw and familiar, “after the hard wind has lifted something away.” Like childhood. The condescension of the “guy”—the easy fix is never for us, and he gloats. And he’s the adult? Thank you for this poem.

I've been there (in fact, the toilet is moaning now). But the poem elevates crisp images into a social dynamic... and brushes the deeper meaning of broken-ness. nicely done !

Very relatable! Excellent poem.

I like the rhythms of the language as well as the truth that relates, unfortunately, to my life exactly.

Perfect accompaniment as I send a check to the plumber.

What fabulous images as similes converge!

This is one of my favorites. Love his poems. 💕

"Then smiles like an adult."

How great is this. Cornlieus comes off Mt. Olympus to tell us the truth of our everydayness- turning pathos into pure pleasure.
Bless his plumbing now and forever.

Bravo, Terence, for picking this poem by Cornelius Eady, a poet I’ve admired since THE GATHERING OF NAMES, his volume of poetry published in 1991 and for which he received a much-deserved Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1992. I’ve been following the verse of Eady ever since.

“Emmett Till’s Glass-Top Casket,” the poem I pasted below by Eady, was first published in the April 5, 2010, issue of The NEW YORKER. A decade later, Eady’s poem was republished in “Voices of American Dissent: An Archival Issue” of The NEW YORKER on July 27, 2020. This poem’s power has only grown stronger in the intervening years.

Dr. Earle Hitchner

by Cornelius Eady

By the time they cracked me open again, topside,
abandoned in a toolshed, I had become another kind of nest.
Not many people connect possums with Chicago,

but this is where the city ends, after all, and I float
still, after the footfalls fade and the roots bloom around us.
The fact was, everything that worked for my young man

worked for my new tenants. The fact was, he had been
gone for years. They lifted him from my embrace, and I was
empty, ready. That’s how the possums found me, friend,

dry-docked, a tattered mercy hull. Once I held a boy
who didn’t look like a boy. When they finally remembered,
they peeked through my clear top. Then their wild surprise.

Thanks, Earle, for this comment. Thanks also for adding the
Emmett Till poem, another great one.

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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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