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« Between the Lines [by James Cummins] | Main | Amy Gerstler: Pick of the Week [ed. Terence Winch] »

February 20, 2021


Molly, I love this. I'm dumb, silly, and probably presumptuous to feel as if I sort of know you, having followed your poems through all these years; but I do. You're one of the only poets who gets desire right, especially solitary desire, because what else is desire anyway: the delicate poignance and the lightning strike and the way time stops, and the ache. Your poems never falter with mean defensive irony (that the rest of us too much use); your irony is Sappho's, about the Big Picture (often with breasts!) and how we are doomed to fail against it, which doesn't stop us loving and lusting, of course; and how our fantasies of efficacy are ... ironic. Ha. I saw Wynona Ryder in something once, maybe it was "Heathers," where she's a girl sitting with a boy on a wall in the countryside somewhere, when the first-ever real wave of desire floods through her; it's as if she's literally knocked off a horse, and she's stumbling, trying to regain her footing, trying to make sense of the old world she thought she knew connecting with the new one that's opened up, all in a few shaky seconds, while the boy drones on, oblivious. What a great job WR did! I've never seen it done better, ever. Of course they had to pull me out from under my theater seat, but it was great, a few popcorn kernels stuck to me, some gum. It was worth it, like your poems. Sorry to be a rambling Fan Boy, but this paragraph has been about thirty years in the making! Thanks for your work, and all good wishes to you and yours.

Jim, you know, or maybe you didn't know, I've long had a crush on y-o-u. Sigh. Also, I like Winona Ryder so thanks. The "big picture (with breasts)" is a phrase worth savoring.

Ha. Thanks, Molly. I was afraid I'd maybe been over the top. I have to be careful writing in the middle of the night! But "Estelle" is a terrific, and moving to me, poem. Also, I forgot Winona was in "Mermaids"--that might be the movie I was thinking of. Anyway, lovely to hear from you.

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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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