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« Geography [by Lera Auerbach] | Main | Jacques d'Amboise, dancer (28 July 1934 - 2 May 2021) by Mindy Aloff »

May 02, 2021


How immediate Barbara's poetry is. I love the way she deglamorizes herself to make a larger, more important, picture. Many poets want to appear ideal. Barbara wants to appear true.

The power of suggestion moves this poem right along, right up to its final look back on itself, ghazal-like as the poet addresses herself. Words like "pour," "mummy," "nose," "blood," "crack," "funny old woman" are repeated in diversions that keep our interest as we move from a stationery store to King Tut's sarcophagus by way of Republican immigration policy. The disparate parts all fit, and afterlife is real.

Thanks, Anne. Love that response.

Beautiful poem— so clear, inclusive, and moving.

Wow. Firstly, Terence Winch is a dynamite poetry curator. Second, this poem ROCKS! The ways in which the JUMPS are also CONNECTIONS, if that makes any sense, is thrilling. The way the immediacy of the "right now/living minute" and the past, both recent past and ancient time seamlessly interpenetrate is a wonder. The voice, super-present, straightforward, bright, clear eyed, and utterly lucid grabs me gently but firmly and will not let me go.

Thanks, Amy, for the compliment & even more for the great comment.

another great choice, terence, thank you, and thank you barbara

Same back to you, mo chara.

I admire this poem very much. The way it makes jumps of ideas, as Amy Gerstler mentions, reminds me very much of Tim Dlugos (and actually, a lot of the time, me, modestly). I've always thought of it as a kind of "rhyme of ideas" that we have been using since we pulled back on direct sound rhyme -- it offers the same pleasure of repetition with a twist in a new direction. And as I think Anne Harding Woodworth is suggesting, it's always a thrill to see diverse things encountered / mental contents pulled together in a spontaneous coherence. It's a fine poetic response to how, as we might otherwise say, life can suck.

this poem stirred me, as indeed it should, right out of my second julep for the day after the Derby and working in the yard. It jolted me back out of my very brief May 2 sunniness of spirit; it wracked me. I needed it. Thank you.

Not the least of my response to the poem's power is the rhythm created by the repetitions; the technical mastery of the drumbeat, the heartbeat, the music.

As ever, Barbara Henning is that rare reliable curator of radical honesty and deep-hearted song. Too many poets strive for that kind of authentic testimony of tenderness and alertness (in her work, the two are one) and wind up showcasing artificial sweeteners and preciousness. Henning always moves across her spatial, mental, and imaginary coordinates in a questing frame of mind and spirit, always deeply situated in the city she so assuredly charts. I am heading to Avenue A right now to stand in front of a now closed stationery store, and see if I can siphon some of the magical powers that Henning creates. A great poem, a great poet, an eternal inspiration. Brava, Maestra!

Thanks for featuring this warming and big world poem that honestly reaches us deep down. Barbara, brilliant and moving and human. Gratitude in bushels.

I appreciate how the idea of "reflections" is formalized in the poem. It seems that each image mirrors another. Cracked, mirrored, buried ...

Barbara is Everyman and Everywoman. Thank you for lighting this affirming flame.

Wonderful poem, Barb. Full of self-acceptance, self-reflection, heart. Always heart. Your connections with the world are mine as well. I am left with the gut feeling and awareness of our shared human condition—past, present, future. The way you skillfully layer fact and observation, one after another leaves me altered and reflective. Thanks.

Beautiful poem.Wonderfully casual and deeply felt.

Thank you for the beautiful, moving poem, Barbara! <3

Beautiful and authentic in every way. Love this poem.

One of my FAVs!

My Barbara, my
hat you air!
the poem a bar
words sipped thru
a paper straw
of music
wry humor
& a nose for
whine or bitters...
For the life
of me I sometimes
lie in
stead as
New York for state
of Work as fluctuating
amount of lumen
remains mum-
In plastic
passing thru
different Bar...
Coughing & hacking
blood on the run
of stationary thoughts
drink up
& leave
A good taste
in my mouth

What, not hat. Lol!

Excellent choice, Terry. Write on, Barbara!

Thanks everyone for your comments. This is one of my favorite poems in A DAY LIKE TODAY. Thank you Sue Walker for publishing it (Negative Capability Press). And thanks my dear friend Julie Patton for your spin off poem. And Jon, just so you know, the Stationary store moved a block uptown, still on Avenue A. Even though I live in Brooklyn now, I stop by now and again. Barb

Thanks Barb. Enjoyed reading your work.

I have trouble appreciating poems that don't use rhyme of sound. Bernard's cpmment about the usage of rhyme of ideas is a big help to me for sensing the beauty of this poem.

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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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