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« Finland in the Headlines [by David Lehman] | Main | Conundrums and sweet embrace: Aurélie Gandit’s “Visite dansée” with La Dame à la licorne [by Tracy Danison] »

July 17, 2022


Another outstanding "pick of the week." Olena Kalytiak Davis is wonderfully alive, funny, engaging. And what terrific art: how on earth did you discover Hannah Hoch's "Modenschau (Fashion Show),"1925? I'll remember it and her. Sincerely, Ernest Hemingway.

Thank you, Senor Hemingway. Pick of the Week's large & well-funded Art Research Dept. is responsible for all the weekly imagery.

damn, damn, damn, what an exhilarating ride! the joy of poem making, the wonder of originality and unique wit. just what the poetry doctor ordered...thanks to the poet and the post-er!

Wow!! Author must be dating MY poem!

Thanks for the comment, Michael.

Poor dear Poem . . . She’s teased and tickled and tampered with you spinning you round and down and up and over and under. So knocked the wind out of you that she turned you deliciously alive. (And a right-on choice of art to match it, Terence.)

I suspect every poet apostrophizes, perhaps even hectors a poem into creation. The “thing being made” comes with expectations, frustrations, and cruel cul-de-sacs as well as those hard-fought-for moments of élan. No one is more demanding of a poem than an accomplished poet. The poetasters take care of themselves. That’s why Olena Kalytiak Davis’s “Hello Poem” rings especially true. She nimbly addresses that age-old query: why don’t you just say what you mean? She also lays out the myriad choices the uncreated poem presents to the writer. A false or faulty step can trip a landmine from which a poem might not recover. “O Poem, we could have been so good together!” she writes, ending less with a sigh than with a hard slap of an exclamation point. Olena Kalytiak Davis is wrong in only one instance: “Poem, Kay Ryan does not like you! / Not at all!” I think Ryan would admire the veneer-stripping ars poetica of "Hello Poem." I’ll finish with my own exclamation point: brava, Olena, for your bravura!

Thanks, Michael. Good to see a comment from you.

Very unique and funny poem. I love the accompanying art.

It is quite a challenge to write a poem about not being able to write a poem. Perhaps it's best to do so, quite successfully in this case, by letting the poem have it face-to-face.

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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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