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« "Kibbitzing and Noshing with Kevin Young at Russ & Daughters Cafe" [by Stacey Harwood] | Main | Happy birthday, Ron Padgett »

June 16, 2024



Ok my mind is officially blown. All power to the rabbits’ revenge

The world has too many poems about romantic relationships and not enough about work, as this poem so capably demonstrates.

Wow… I have read it 3 times and keep getting pulled back to it…Thanks Terence and thanks Kurt!

Works on work work for me.

Thanks for the comment, Leslie.

Some art is terror made beautiful.

. "They never told us what happened to the animals"t
R We Not Men? We R Devo!

A poem of that job in hell. Yeah, I worked there too. Hey how bout that New Mexico cap? Hope you come out this way to Albuquerque one day

The “rock band” was obviously Devo, a New Wave group out of Akron who had a spell of success during the 1980s. The pall of mechanization was their insistent subtext, reflected in donning inverted, flower pot-like hats or helmets intended perhaps to fend off mind-controlling signals from afar; wearing identical jumpsuits to caricature regimentation; using synchronized body/dance movements like robots; and constructing a mechanized musical sound often propelled by a drum machine. Devo was so devoted to looking and behaving devolved that they became hip. Their biggest hit was “Whip It.” Another, mantra-like nugget was “Through Being Cool.” What Kurt S. Olsson has done brilliantly in his poem “Devolution” is apply partly the ethos of Devo to a flesh-staining, soul-blighting milieu of work marked by “long damp,” “rictus of an eighty-year-old smoker’s cough,” “pink eyes rolling,” and speculation about “dying from emphysema.” That coat near the poem’s end suggests someone or something “had escaped” yet might return “frightened, hungry, drugged.” Olsson is not our Charon ferrying dead souls across the River Styx in Hades. But his poem “Devolution” does give us one hell of a ride. Kudos, Kurt!

Earle---you're back!  Thanks for the comment.

Since I first read it I've been in awe of this poem by Kurt Olsson. And I applaud Cavalieri's sentiment "Some art is terror made beautiful."

What a powerfully driven poem! Kurt co-organized the 2023 Kensington Day of the Book Festival with me (in Maryland) and we all had the pleasure of hearing him read in person.

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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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