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« "Invited to Life: Finding Hope After the Holocaust" [by B. A. Van Sise] | Main | "Permanently" [by Kenneth Koch, born today] »

February 26, 2023


Between Roger Reeves and Olayanju Dada, I am in the stratosphere of love.

This poem contains a world and must be read over and over again. I applaud, Roger Reeves, with thanks to Terence.

ran toward it with both eyes closed

I am now your fan, Roger Reeves!
Thank you, Terence Patrick!

damn, that's a treasure trove of a poem

Beth: thanks for the comment.

Roger Reeves is a one of a kind. His book Best Barbarian was the most exciting poetry book published in 2022. And I'm looking forward to his book of essays Dark Days coming out in August of this year. Extraordinary poem!

Balthazar will be back. He's smart enough to figure out how to arrange it. Any donkey who thinks of the consciousness of trees is here for good. It takes a dog to see that. Thank you for this poem.

What Beth Joselow said. A deeply disturbing and oddly comforting poem.
Good dog.
Good donkey.
Great poet.


A great poem--and a reminder that poetry benefits from dialogue by its characters.

A remarkable story, like nothing I've read before. The speaker reports to us in such vivid terms in a landscape I can imagine pretty clearly, while the characters' interactions still shock. I've read it four times in this sitting and still feel like its power won't lessen no matter how many times I go back to it. How did the poet do it? Where did it come from--what sources? Thanks to Roger Reeves for writing this poem and to Terence for finding and sending it out to all of us. I'll start now to look for more of Reeves' work.

The frisson I received after reading Roger Reeves’ powerful poem was unshakable and, for me, even cinematic. I actually blinked after reading about “Balthazar, the donkey,” who “walked / Into a pasture of sheep and died.” I instantly thought: Roger Reeves saw the same movie I did as a nomadic, offbeat film-hungry teenager. It was AU HASARD BALTHAZAR, written and directed by Robert Bresson, and initially released in 1966. (If you didn’t see this film, Roger, feel free to lambast my presumption.) The poem’s eddy of mythological references (cyclops, a giant with only one, middle-of-the-forehead eye) and religious references (Goliath, the giant slain by David’s slingshot; also, “Balthazar” was the name of one of the three wise men, bringing myrrh, used as a cleansing incense or fragrance, to the newborn messiah) reinforces the notion of reincarnation suggested by Roger’s opening line: “I was not a very good dog in my former life. I hit / My owner, James, often.” The donkey Balthazar in Bresson’s film is also mistreated, responding to each instance with seeming stoicism about a life lacking self-agency. In “Cyclops and Balthazar” Roger Reeves renders all, including a highly reactive raven, with deft brushstrokes. Bresson once said: “I’d rather people feel a film before understanding it. I’d rather feelings arise before intellect.” Roger Reeves’ magnificent poem summons both emotion and understanding, both feeling and thinking, in near simultaneity of effect that even Bresson would have bowed down before. Thanks, Terence, for once again bringing a sui generis poet to my attention. Whatever divining rod you’re using, keep it in a safe place.

Thanks back to you, Don.

Great commentary. Thanks, Earle.

The life that runneth under this poem burns with a powerful flame. I am changed a little for reading it. Thank you Terence once again for sharing great poetry with me and the world.

Doug: Thanks for the comment.

Wow that was awesome! I'm going to read it again at night.

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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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