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« The Layers of “To Be” [by Lera Auerbach] | Main | Homage to Irving Berlin »

September 17, 2021


Michael was very kind to me and generous during his lifetime. He gave me the opportunity to be his substitute teacher at California College of the Arts, where he had long been teaching on their Oakland campus. It must have been the Spring of 1974, if I can remember back that far. Michael told me when I wandered onto the CCA campus that he he read my poems published in a few local journals and liked them. And wondered if I'd teach his poetry writing and theater appreciaiton classes while he spent a month in New York City rehearsing and opening a new play. Through Michael I met a great many people in the Bay Area poetry, theater, and music scenes. And we remanied friends through his lifetime (though we did not see each other much toward the end of his life). Thank you Michael for the beauty you brought into my life, and for enlarging the world that we shared while you walked the earth. Long may you roar!

Thank you Alan for this very meaningful and heartfelt comment. What you write illuminates something that may not be as well known about Michael as his literary achievements — his generosity and capacity for friendship.

Makes me wonder whether you ever met Frank O'Hara and some of the others you speak about.

wonderful tribute vincent, and I totally agree about McClure and di Prima

I love the last word in this final poem: torture. I speaks of flesh like a Canadian meat pie or tortiere.

Thanks Michael! I've been thinking about you while writing these. Then today I thought, "Michael and Michael."

Thank you for your comment Maria! "Torture" is a word McClure keeps coming back to, and it always has multiple connotations, such as those you suggest.

Kenneth, I did indeed know Frank O'Hara when I was a child. I know some poets and others not so much. I heard Baraka read a number of times but didn't know him personally.

Thank you, Vincent, for an excellent and most stimulating series of posts.

Thank you for the opportunity, David!

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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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