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« from "Duke Rhino," a work in progress (by Mitch Sisskind) | Main | Auden on critics »

October 21, 2022


perfection, cubed

The more Amy Gerstler poems in the world, the better. Hurrah for these.

I enjoyed this poem immensely.
My favorite line is

"The idea that someone
curious about your body isn't interested in the private theatre
of your mind".

Now that I've reached into the early seventh decade of life, it seems the reverse is true.

I love these poems! I could read Amy Gerstler poems until the cows came home.

If these are poems, what were those things made by Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, and so many others? Poetry uncovers truths of the human condition, by way of language that mimics the majesty and mute beauty of the human animal. Poets are admonished to "make it new;" what is implied, though, is that they first master the old.

Dear Dave Read, you have a great name -- anagrammatically. Dear Vera, Dare Dead Rave! That's a rhetorical gambit, but so is the first sentence of your comment -- the rhetorical question masquerading as a self-evident assertion. Then the ex cathedra platitude ("poetry uncovers truths of the human condition," yawn), then the nice alliteration of "mimics the majesty and mute beauty of the human animal." The final sentence, passive voice, avoids saying that it was Ezra Pound who commanded poets to "make it new." That was his pronouncement, and though there are those who continue to take it to heart (foolishly, because novelty is not poetry), it's the last clause that makes the most sense. Would that young poets aspire to "master the old"!

Dear Mr. Lehman, Don't make this about me, when it is about you, a scholar cast in the role of assistant/adjunct/acting gatekeeper of American poetry. You do un-best poets no favor by publishing them under your oh-so-boastful title.

But to satisfy your interest in me, I am a vocational poet in search of fellowship in a world where market forces have converted poetry to an occupation, administered by the academy, which is to say, by people who teach that which they cannot do (well enough for all the perks of campus life).

In the wild, there's no such thing as a young poet, because a thorough dose of life is a prerequisite of the best poetry (plus beaucoup reading), which is the only poetry worth being late to dinner for.

p.s. Is "for" a good word with which to finish a sentence?

p.p.s. What Pound said wasn't a commandment (poets take neither lay, nor holy, orders), nor a pronouncement, but his testimony about the nature of the poem/poetry. I declined attribution because of his treasonous behavior in behalf of forces that are about to erupt, again.

Trump favors the ad hominem approach, too, Dr. Lehman; and your childish anagram of my name to make "Dead" appear, shows that you are in tune with "Death con Ye."

Dear Dave Read, It is fine to conclude a sentence with "for." Like Nabokov and others I find anagrams enchanting and inspiring. (Avid am I. Dad led me.) Not surprised am I that you, who, in the comments space here, pop off with opinionated insults, should such thin skin have. Nor do I reply merely to trump your efforts in triplicate. Sincerely, Lad Named Dave. Ave!

There you go again, back into Trump's ad hominem sandbox, full of letter blocks for fun with words. You're unable to answer a reasonable judgment so you label it pop-off opinion and attack me. At long last, Mr. Lehman, have you no shame? p.s. I've read Vladimir, you're no Nabakov!

"There you go again": Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter.
"Have you no shame?": Joe Welch to Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Correct spelling of Nabokov: Nabokov.

Good job with the Easter eggs, Dave, 2 out of 3 ain't bad! But, how could you miss Bentsen to Quayle?

p.s. Could you recommend an online forum where a discussion of poetry may be found?

Thanks for the sparring match, David. I will use this colloquy elsewhere to illustrate my concern about the sorry state of American poetry. If there's anything you don't want me to quote, please let me know.

Dear Dave, I read you.

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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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