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Denise Duhamel


Light Me Down: The New & Collected Poems of Jean Valentine (Alice James, 2024) is a gorgeously produced volume worthy of a major American poet. In her foreword, Anne Marie Macari aptly and elegantly describes Jean as a “once-in-generation poet of the interior life.” Light Me Down gathers all of Jean’s books as well as series of stunning “new” poems written in the last four years of her life, from 2016-2020. The titular poem is the first poem in the collection—

Light me down to the long meadow
to where the new snow taps on the fallen snow
with the fingers of the lost tribe.

Who would want us to listen?
Someone does want it:

          Mother of snow
smoking your cigarette ration, your dark
lipstick mouthprint hungry

for the frail paper,
long after the war was over.

While Jean was indeed a poet of interiority, she was also keenly engaged with the world—wars, family life, poverty, injustice. Her daring and mysterious verse, rooted in time but yet timeless, wants us to listen.


May 29

August 23, 2023

August 16, 2023

August 11, 2023

August 09, 2023

August 02, 2023

July 26, 2023

July 19, 2023

July 14, 2023

July 12, 2023

July 05, 2023

June 28, 2023

June 21, 2023

June 14, 2023

June 13, 2023

June 07, 2023

May 31, 2023

May 24, 2023

May 17, 2023

May 10, 2023

May 03, 2023

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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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