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« "Dictionary of Omissions" [by Boris Dralyuk] | Main | A Belated Congratulations to Emma Trelles, 9th Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, CA »

October 16, 2022


Brilliant word painting and thought. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

The silent trees know. Lovely poem.

The sweetness of sensuality, beautifully said.

deep poem. interesting pairing of Toomer and Gauguin

Beautiful and colorful in every way

What beautiful closing four lines, plus I really like Johnson's ear for the line, and the combination of his describing both the picture and the painter's thought.

What a terrific job, you're doing Terence. The poetry selection and art curation. It is beyond anything else presented online.

Thanks so much for the comment, Grace. You made my day.

Describing or distilling the visual impact of any great painter in words can be a monumental, even insuperable challenge, yet Amaud Jamaul Johnson does so with elastic elan and arresting vividness. His poem's deft accretion of colors, contours, and textures through a breathtaking evocation of jasper, black opal, guava, plantain, avocado, chocolate, red silk scarf, banyan, palm, and sweet gum excites the senses without swamping them. As Johnson notes, "Gauguin is in love again." So are we. Through Johnson's words we "see" what is before Gauguin: a delicate dipping into and out of "the body's secret ... the thought of history" and his attempt to "paint his language into their silences." The heady synesthesia conjured by Johnson is a perfect match to his subject. The mirror he holds up to Gauguin is not just a reflection but a reimmersion into the power of paint to escape its two dimensions, just as the power of this poem does. What a triumph!

Love this poem, particularly the wryness of "Gauguin is in love again" and the knowing in "all of his desires/ collapse into color"--gazing at the gazer and seeing him for who he is.

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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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