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« "Girl Reading a Letter" [by William Carpenter] | Main | Poets and Jobs [by John Foy] »

June 28, 2022


The poem is a great choice, the commentary is equal to the chalenge, and in sum, thia is another success in your series of exemplary posts substantiating the thesis that the New York School in all its variousness has had a widening sphere of influence in American poetry. Thank you, and kudos!

What joy and comfort and a dose of buzzy energy this poem shot into me! What you said, Angela, about "a welter of contradictions" is perfect. The reveling here in both the miraculous known (the unimpressive speed at which sperm travel on their mission) and the wondrous unknowable (a mother's last words, what neurotransmitter levels and/or actions make us feel too much, or what a corpse knowns)is bracing. So is the idea that not only do we need to attempt to make peace with the unsolvable but maybe we have to delight in it, and that delight, rather than any complete understanding, is the juice we can wring from being alive. The information/images/juxtapositions are so funny/dire/serious/myriad and utterly vivid, and come in such a rush, I feel like I have been danced around the room thrice by the time I get to the end of the poem: flushed, happy, riding a little wave of mystery, a bit breathless.

Thank you for this beyond-generous comment, David.

Love your comment, Amy, how great the way you describe the poem's delight in the unsolvable: "that delight, rather than any complete understanding, is the juice we can wring from being alive."

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Best American Poetry Web ad3
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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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