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« Salutations (by Malachi Black) | Main | Happy birthday, Arthur Schopenhauer »

February 22, 2010


Wow. Terrific.

Yes, well, I don't have an MFA but have written far too many MFA poems. Right now I'm hacking with abandon a manuscript of 50 poems to beautiful little pieces, each one. Somewhere in that burning house, in a corner, wagging its frightened tail, the real poem is barking

Wow! that was fucking good! Thank you. That is on par with the freshest cup of coffee brewed, and delicious, the first one in the morning, that make both eyes go: PING!

I went through the MFA program at the University of Michigan when I was 23. I wasn't taught how to write an MFA poem; I wasn't taught much of anything. Simic says people called his early poetry "crazy images strung arbitrarily together"; that's a good description of the poetry I wrote then. My teachers had little to say about it. My classmates had almost nothing to say about it, and most of them hated me. They didn't write MFA poems--they lacked the chops. They wouldn't have known what you meant by MFA poem. They wouldn't have known what you meant by sonnet. They didn't imitate, admire, or even read the poetry of our teachers. I lusted after several attractive classmates. They were all married, or lesbians, or involved with men in sensible, unpoetic lines of work. I never fucked them; the other guys in the class never fucked them; the teachers never fucked them; they never fucked one another. None of us had any charming vices. The workshop was as dionysian as a prayer meeting of seventy-year-old eunuchs. Yes, those were the days.

I'm not sure why (or when or how, much of the time) ... but this poem was awesome -- rather, it was fucking awesome. Woke up my brain and made me smile.

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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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