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From the Archive

Tanya Larkin on Cavalli, Koch and Paestum: Is There Any Comparison?


"I don't want to talk about love, I just want to make it." (D'amore non voglio parlare, lo voglio solamente fare.) I hear this Patrizia Cavalli line, made famous in Kenneth Koch's poem "Talking to Patrizia" and think, I don't want to talk about poems, I just want to make them. And yet here I am talking about poems. And I will talk about them endlessly (the way Patrizia wound up talking about love in Koch's poem)...or at least until the end of the week.

This reminds me of a Kenneth Koch comic I have up in my bathroom. I'll scan and post The Italian Cabdriver Comics and maybe a few others in the next couple of days. It goes like this: The Italian Cabdriver said Poetry? Poetry in English?...Nay Nay Signore...Poetry, in Italian!...What is your word for nature, for example?..."Nature," I weakly said, knowing I was defeated...Ah hah! driver Luigi Piccione hailing from Paestum, Lacania...But now resident in Rome..."In OUR language...IN OUR LANGUAGE," HE SAID"..."IT IS"...LA NATURA!

I've been to Paestum. My sister and I went on a wild boat and bus trek there about 15 years ago. It's home to the enchanting Tomb of the Diver, a fresco of a diver painted on the interior of a tomb. At first people thought it was the tomb of a diver. Then, given the things they found in the grave, a musician. 

From the archive; first posted by Tanya Larkin on June 17, 2012

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Best American Poetry Web ad3
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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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