Ed Ochester's most recent books are Unreconstructed: Poems Selected and New (Autumn House Press, 2007), The Republic of Lies (chapbook, Adastra Press, 2007), The Land of Cockaigne (Story Line Press, 2001), and American Poetry Now (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007), an anthology of contemporary American poetry. He edits the Pitt Poetry Series and is general editor of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for short fiction. He co-edits the poetry magazine 5 AM and is a core faculty member of the Bennington College M.F.A. program.
An Evening with Gerald Stern
There's a town called Homer City
northeast of Pittsburgh and the state's
put up a sign that says
"Named After a Famous Greek Poet"
so when I taught in a school near there,
IUPIndiana University of Pennsylvania
I had some kids from Homer City in my class
and I asked them if they knew the name
of the famous Greek poet and one of them
after a lot of hesitation said "Homer?" and
I said "Right! and do you know what language
he wrote in?" and that stumped them until
one girlshe was sitting next to one of the
Homer City guys, but she was much more
sophisticated and self-assured--
whispered to him: "Latin, you jerk!"
When Pitt gave me an honorary degree
the Chancellor had a fancy dinner for me,
and his son was therea very nice kid who
was just starting Sarah Lawrenceso
I said to him at the dinner table
"I'm in New York most of the time
and you have my phone number so
give me a call if you're ever in trouble
or wind up in jail."
Heh, heh, heh.
Gilbert's in a bad way and Linda
takes care of him as much as she can
but he lives alone. He has plenty of money
but he suffers from a bad disease: DSA,
Don't Spend Anything.
So apparently Lucy talked to Liam for two hours
before his death. Do you know if they
talked about suicide? The shotgun,
I heard, was his father's. So many
people loved him.
What street is that? Second Avenue?
There used to be streetcars running on it.
I still remember riding them
on the hottest days in August.
My new book is coming out in German.
I used to think I'd refuse ever to talk
to a German, but these people are so nice
I'm forgetting my vow.
Have you ever been to Czechoslovakia, Eddie?
Have you ever been to Greece?
Have you ever been to Poland?
That was a magnificent dinner.
I have to get some sleep.
I'm leaving very early tomorrow.
7 A.M. I'll get a cab. Airport.
|© 2008 The Cortland Review