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Terence Winch
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This looks great, but you can't "continue reading" without subscribing to the WSJ. Which is frustrating. I love Coleridge. "Kubla Khan" is the greatest poem in English.
Great post. I always loved Jack Benny. And Jimmy Durante. And John Ashbery. And drinking. And Mickey Rooney (Scottish; real name: Joe Yule; cf. Joe Christmas). And so forth.
"...swift, dishy, insightful, entertaining"---true of the book and its author.
Thanks, Janey---I still remember what a thrill it was when you published my little chapbook Nuns and got Edward Gorey to provide the cover image.
But I'm glad you & your work are still with us. Thanks, Tom.
Thanks, Earle, for your characteristically insightful & knowledgeable response.
Thank you, my dear. At least I still have your painting of the box.
I found the poem below recently in a pile of papers from around 2008. I had no memory of having written it, but I’m sure many writers have the same kind of experience. Forgetfulness enshrouding us all. What intrigued me is that the poem seems to predict what happened a year or two after I wrote it. In late 2010, I sold a precious piece of my past—an Irish button accordion I got when I was around 8 years old. I can still dimly remember going to Manhattan with my father and his best friend P.J. Conway to buy this instrument, which I think cost about $200, a fortune for my family in those days. It was beautiful but hard to play—the keyboard action was high and stiff. The Black Box, painting by Susan Campbell When I retired from the Smithsonian in 2009, I needed to look for some extra money, and that’s when selling the old box occurred to me. I’d hardly touched it since 1980-81, when I replaced it with a succession of instruments that are easier to play. I don’t think it was a bad decision to sell it. My father had a kind of Zen-like non-attachment to material things, and I think he would have blessed the de-accessioning of the box. It was bought by a Dublin accordion-player of impressive ability named Ray Dempsey (pictured below). He in turn sold it to a Frenchman named Laurent Jarry, who presides over an accordion emporium in the Paris suburb of Montreuil that I would love to visit one day. Black Box My father took me downtown and bought me the most amazing black box. A beauty, with flags, harps, and flowers, all in rhinestone. My name affixed to it, in big block letters, also of rhinestone. To me, they were white diamonds. The box was very heavy. As I got older, it grew even heavier. Because only an expert could open it, I never put anything into it. After my father died, I put the black box into a bigger box and didn’t think about it for many years. Until a few weeks ago, when I was overcome with a sense of the past, which has a distinct smell, like that of someone eating Doritos in the Metro, and I looked everywhere for the box. But it’s gone, and all those ancient attachments, so glittery and fragile, gone with it. Laurent Jarry's Accordion shop Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2015 at The Best American Poetry
She sounds like a fantastic person, and she certainly did a good job raising you. I want some of that cream in my medicine cabinet.
Sounds like a great night. Wish I had been there. It would be pretty difficult not to like Paul or his work.
As always, original & brilliant.
Hmmmm...I think I know what I'll make for lunch today. Thanks for the expert & insightful introduction to this beautiful painting.
Thanks for the endorsement, Stacey. I hope they have enough copies in stock in the North Pole.
Love this poem.
Ray DiPalma’s new book, Obedient Laughter (Los Angeles, Otis Books /Seismicity Editions) is made up of six sections, all of which showcase DiPalma’s lifelong exploration of the uses of language “without a fixed destination, as a matter of form,/bargaining notations, mnemonic targets, omertà.” The longest and most engaging section of the new book is called “Equivoques,” which consists of forty-five pages of mostly two-line pieces that seem to be part fortune cookie, part fractured syllogism, with puns, mondegreens, and other odd, playful, wise, and inventive uses of language throughout. Here are some of my favorites: AS THOUGHT OCCURS Microcurrents are detectable in the finger muscles. WHEN I DIE That’ll be the day. JUNKYARD DOGS Now living in the penthouse by the reservoir. A WHITE SPORT COAT And a pink potato. OUT OF EGYPT Into the frying pan. DOGS FOR THE DEAD ’Scuse me, you misunderstood, it’s dogs for the deaf. SACRED AND UNDENIABLE No, Tom, let’s go with self-evident. BUT DON’T GET ME WRONG I wish they all could be hallelujah girls. THE DEAD MARX BROTHER Groupo. HE’S A GREAT IRISH MUSICIAN AND POET But how many more times can he get beat up? CORRUPTION DEMON WORSHIP AND SORCERY Further reasons the pump don’t work. COPLAND’S APPALACHIAN SPRING OR BARBER’S MEDEA SUITE Neither one. WRITING SLOWLY ENOUGH For the ink to flow through the letters. HOW HAVE YOU CONDUCTED YOURSELF IN THIS LIFE Because now awaiting you on the other side are 72 vegans. Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Classic Lally. A poetic voice like no other. Good to see this poem poem here in the BAP universe.
Je voudrais du vin rouge, s'il vous plait.
This poem is very good, and funny. Thanks.
In honor of Percy Bysshe Shelley's recent birthday and John Milton's perpetual relevance, here are two pieces from Doug Lang’s funny, dazzling, and supremely inventive sonnet collection, dérangé (which full disclosure requires me to acknowledge that I happily helped bring to publication): Paradise Dude sonnet Of Mans First Disobedience, dude, and the Fruit Of that Forbidden Tree, dude, whose mortal taste Brought Death into the World, dude, OMG, and all our woe, With loss of EDEN, dude, till one greater Dude, dude, Restore us, dude, and regain the blissful Seat, dude, Sing Heav'nly Muse, OMG, that on the secret top Of OREB, dude, or of SINAI, dude, didst inspire That Shepherd, dude, who first taught the chosen Seed, dude. In the Beginning, dude, how the Heav'ns and Earth, dude, Rose out of CHAOS, OMG: Or if SION Hill, OMG Delight thee more, dude, and SILOA'S Brook that flow'd, dude, Fast by the Oracle of God, dude, WTF; I thence Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song, dude, That OMG with no middle flight intends to soar, dude, just sayin’ ___________________________________________________________________ Yo, Yo, Oz sonnet Yo, yo, I met a traveler from an antique land, yo, Who said: Yo, Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert, yo. Near them, on the sand, yo, Half sunk, yo, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, yo, and sneer of cold command, yo, Tell that its sculptor, yo, well those passions read, yo, Which yet survive, yo, stamped on these lifeless things, yo, The hand that mocked them, yo, and the heart that fed, yo; And on the pedestal, yo, these words appear: “My name is Ozymandias, yo, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair, yo!” Nothing beside remains, yo. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, yo, boundless and bare, yo, The lone and level sands, yo, stretch far away, yo. Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks, David. Wonderful piece on a great poem. If the poem didn't get Marvell laid after his coy mistress read it, there's no hope for poetry.
The Red Scare The Hogs The Groundhogs The Feral Boars The Skintones The Skinflints The Skinheads The Skinetics The Schematics The Agenda The Scenarios The Swampoodles The Spoiler Alerts The Federal Bureau of Devastation The Gridiron Protection Agency The Known Unknowns The Nattering Nabobs The Blowbacks
Thank you, Bill. My fees for re-using the speech are quite reasonable.