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« Happy Birthday, Ern Malley! [With an introduction by Thomas Moody lifted from David Lehman] | Main | Denise Duhamel's Medicare Barbie (by Nin Andrews) »

March 17, 2024


What a beautiful, authentic tribute to Baltimore. So much is captured in these few words. It’s a joy to read and re-read.

David covers it all, elevating his place without ignoring its starkness , it’s monstrous haunt. Cheers to you David, and you Terence for picking this wonderful song.

David is just the one to paint this true, and loving, portrait of my home town. It is haunting, as the city it describes. Well done!

I am overjoyed to see wonder David B’s baltimore poem here. Not only does it truly capture the heart and soul of B-more, but also it is a quiet miracle of canny use of internal rhyme. Wow. Slainte, lads David and Terence!

Big fan of David's, love this poem, thanks for the poem & thanks as always to Terence for giving us pleasure every week.

what a wonderful poem and post, thank you david and terence

A winning tribute to this special city. Elliott Coleman is smiling on you, David. Thank you, Terence!

Such a great and witty first line that expands into a beautiful ode.

Oh I have missed David, last seen about 1977, but with great adoration. Yes, David rocks Baltimore with that poem. And I want "more please."
Also, our art curator aways makes me cry with gratitude.

Never more real! Bravo!

I love this beautiful poem.

This David Beaudouin guy is going places.
He is also staying in the same place.

A wonderful ode to tough, gritty love. Thank you David and Terence.

One of the all time best poems about Baltimore. It really captures the spirit of our city. And the mural is great too!

That is one beautiful poem.

Thanks, Clarinda. I'm glad it gets your stamp of approval.

Phyllis: Thanks for the comment.

Thanks, Michael.

You're very welcome, Gardner.

Don: thanks for that comment.

Thanks back to you, Elinor.

I love the double meaning of the poem’s title “Annunciation.” In Christian theology, it’s the Angel Gabriel’s announcement to the “Virgin” Mary that she would--through “immaculate conception” via the Holy Spirit, often depicted as a hovering dove (in Catholicism, the two-word term is a euphemism for no sex)--conceive and ultimately give birth to a son, Jesus (Luke 1:26-38). But the poem’s title is also an announcement by the poet, David Beaudouin, in describing and even defending his native city of Baltimore as he initially proclaims his “sins” and the implicit penance of having to live there. Three descending rhymes (“Baltimore,” “shore,” and “impure”) in the first three lines lead to a stark simile: “Like a cigarette butt in last night’s drink.” Much like Edgar Allan Poe, who was born in Boston but claimed Baltimore as his birthplace, Beaudouin makes the reader fall in love with the city despite its “monsters / At the edges.” His art is not artifice. It’s pictorial, not picturesque. Even his other rhymes (“drink” with “think” in lines 4-5, “own” with “stone” in line 9, “beer” with “here” in line 14) are so deftly placed that they avoid any hint of winking at the reader. The poem’s veracity is felt inescapably. “It will never be more real than here”: that last sentence also applies to the poem itself. (The poem made me rethink how I feel about Randy Newman’s own indelible take on the city in his song “Baltimore” from 1977--and even Nina Simone’s more lacerating rendition of the song from 1978.) I’ll end with an obvious “annunciation”: Beaudouin’s poem is also conceived unconventionally--and is equally unforgettable in its brilliant achievement.

Earle: thanks for the great comment. 

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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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