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Literalists of the Imagination on Opening Day

Marianne Moore at Yankee Stadium throwing out the first pitch of the 1968 season. Photo: Bob Olen. Marianne Moore Collection, Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia.

Molly Arden's prose poem, "So Many Literalists," draws a distinction between "literalists" and "literalists of the imagination." The latter is a phrase from Marianne Moore's signature poem "Poetry" (the full-length version, not the bare-bones three-line summary she published, presumably in a fit of literalism, in her "Collected"). If Adam is a prototype of the poet it is not only because he gets to name the animals, it's also that in paradise he woke to find his dream was truth.

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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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