Poetry Magazine : January : 2010

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A lovely couple of lines from Vera Pavlova and four poems:

Only she who has breast-fed
knows how beautiful the ear is.

Am I lovely? Of course!
Those who are asleep in the earth
To converse with the greats
He marked the page with a match

Lines from my favorite roguishly windblown hair’ed poet Donald Hall (from Advent):

When I know that the grave is empty,
Absence eviscerates me,
And I dwell in a cavernous, constant
horror vaccui.

Timothy Murphy (who rhymed “whored” with “Lord” in one poem) writes:

Lord, the broken spirit,
the sorrows in my heart
are much, much to inherit
and hard, hard to impart.

The dense but exhilarating Fanny Howe poem “A Hymn” begins with Fyodor:

When I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I’m even pleased that I’m falling in just such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful. And so in that very shame I suddenly begin a hymn.

-Fyodor Dostoevsky

Also my favorite quote from Carmine Starnino’s essay Lazy Bastardism:

Lazy bastardism kowtows to the convenience of see-Jane-run simple-mindedness because, by gosh, that’s what most people want from their poetry. Lazy bastardism is the only way to explain the existence of phrases like “the roaring juggernaut of time” or “the once gurgling fountain of creativity” (both plucked from Billy Collins’s The Trouble with Poetry). Lazy bastardism will never come clean and tell you that poetry is an acquired taste, that the pleasure of reading it is assembled over years from smaller, slow-to-learn skills. Lazy bastardism will never insist that you should read a lot of poems, old and new, and try to keep them in your head to help train and trust your ear. And lazy bastardism will certainly never stress that you need to love poetry’s artificial and formal aspects.

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