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« Seoul Food and Fists circa 2009 {by Loren Goodman} | Main | John Hennessy, Guest Author June 14-19 »

June 13, 2021



"Poor sinners, who had made a joyful noise": a beautiful phrase in a beautiful poem.

Ah, brings back memories of those Catholic school days and sweet symphony of those erasers.
Beautiful photo quartet of erasers on their doily too!

Mary Jo. I'm so glad to read this! Wonderful. Having known and adored 'the father' in this poem --makes it all the better--a privileged read--And I will catch up with you again. It is my wish. Maybe over your forthcoming book.

I remember your poem about the Grandfather clock and so many more.

“a snow of vanished alphabets and numbers” — beautiful image!

OMG. What a magical poem. Funny thing: at the public elementary school I attended in mid-city Baltimore, beating erasers was considered an honor. And it was, for exactly the reasons the great Mary Jo S. details here. As for the boys now being, themselves, dust, I am dazzled and stunned at this thought which I will think about constantly from now on. (Naughty Catholic school boys who used to "ride me" on their handlebars around the 'hood--Phil, Ronnie, et al--are you dust yet? You were older men when I was 10 and you were 13. . . .

Among the questions simmering in Mary Jo Salter’s skillfully constructed poem is this: What gets erased in the formation of character by inculcating and then enforcing acquiescence in adolescents? Salter shakes off the dusty notion of rote compliance and imposed silence as conducive to learning. The noisy boys turn affliction into fun, thus temporarily thwarting their martinet nun’s discipline by speaking and behaving as the boys they are. Brava to Salter for this bravura verse lending voice to these “unrecorded voices,” including her father’s.

A wonderful poem and a step back in time to a different place.

"Word-clouds where unrecorded voices / gladly forgot themselves"--just terrific!

There's an enjoyable playfulness in several of the author's images: Sister's chalk baton that leads to the symphony of padded cymbals; the varied imagery of black and white; and the end-of-line rhymes that suggest school days. But then there is the sequence of snow and powder and cloud, all pulled together by the last word of the poem, which leaves you stunned.

That'a. memorial beauty, true and moving, Mary Jo. Bravo.

Marvelous. I love everything about 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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