What thoughts I have of you tonight, Jorie Graham, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a Fullbright self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into your volume “The End Of Beauty,” dreaming of your enumerations!
What marbles and what marimbas! Whole workshops stopping in your volume! Poems full of husbands! Wives in the paragraphs, a baby in the caesura!–and you, Helen Vendler, what were you doing down by the iambics?

I saw you, Jorie Graham, mother, fashionable grubber, poking among the discourses, eyeing the poetry prizes.
I heard you asking questions of each: who smelled my students? What price betrayal? Are you my winner?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant derailments following you, and followed in my imagination by the editor of the American Poetry Review.
We strode down the open stanzas together in our solitary fancy tasting insinuations, possessing every parenthetical, and never passing the denouement.

Where are you going, Jorie Graham? I close the book in an hour. Which way do your locks point tonight?
(I touch your Pulitzer and dream of our odyssey in the committee and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through Cambridge? The blurbs add light to light, lights out in the classrooms, we’ll both be happy.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past the little shops outside of Harvard Yard?

Ah, dear mother, husky-voiced courage-teacher, what America did you have when Ramke and Sacks quit poling the ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?


  1. Al Cordle said,

    June 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Quite possibly your best work yet! Greetings from the ALA conference in steamy Washington, DC

  2. The Noochie-Coochie Man said,

    June 28, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    I’m so jealous of Jorie!
    Her life is but a dream.
    A bowl full of peaches,
    and a pitcher full of cream.

  3. Chuck.Godwin said,

    June 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I agree with Mr. Cordle, especially the images evoked by “husky-voiced courage-mother” and “smoking bank” (standing on) and “black waters” of .. (an oil spill?).

  4. The Noochie-Coochie Man said,

    June 29, 2010 at 11:33 am

    The American Sublime
    by Wallace Stevens

    How does one stand
    To behold the sublime,
    To confront the mockers,
    The mickey mockers
    And plated pairs?

    When General Jackson
    Posed for his statue
    He knew how one feels.
    Shall a man go barefoot
    Blinking and blank?

    But how does one feel?
    One grows used to the weather,
    The landscape and that;
    And the sublime comes down
    To the spirit itself,

    The spirit and space,
    The empty spirit
    In vacant space.
    What wine does one drink?
    What bread does one eat?

  5. Marcus Bales said,

    July 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Jorie-o Jorie-o
    Judging a poetry
    Contest declared all the
    Entries were lax.

    So waiving his fee and
    The deadline she gifted her
    Love, Peter Sacks.

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