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DAVID LEHMAN (2) - SEPTEMBER 1999 FEATURE  

  

The Cortland Review

FEATURE
 
David Lehman
  Tom Disch talks with poet and critic David Lehman about his daily poems. David reads three poems from his upcoming book.

Lyn Lifshin
  A Day in the Life: Lyn recounts the details of her day.

Robert Kendall
  Tales from the Hard Disk: The future of literature online.

John Kinsella
  Familiar Territory: Changes of Tense: the next chapter in John Kinsella's continuing autobiography series.

David Lehman

David LehmanDavid Lehman's new book of poems, The Daily Mirror, is forthcoming from Scribner in January 2000. The paperback edition of his book, The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets, will be issued by Doubleday Anchor in October 1999. He is the series editor of The Best American Poetry, which he launched in 1988. He lives in New York City.

Three Poems

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September 22    Click to hear this poem in real audio, read by David Lehman


It's the day of the ram
and the head of the year
Rosh Ha'Shanah at
services I sat next to
Mel Torme who outshone
all comers with his bar
mitzvah heroics while on
my left is Barnett Newman
big talker whose favorite
subjects include the horses
and the stock market he
knows the odds the women
are seated upstairs this is
an orthodox congregation
very serious I make
eye contact with the wife
of Menelaus who runs off
with Paris confident I'm Paris.

 

 

October 12    Click to hear this poem in real audio, read by David Lehman


My bag was missing at the airport
"Just one bag?" "Yes, but it meant a lot to me"
I had seen the bartender before, but where?
"You didn't tell me you had been to Oxford"
"Yes, I was at Magdalen College for two years"
"What did you do there?" "Drugs."
"Did you know that in Hindi the same word
(kal, pronounced 'kull') means both
yesterday and tomorrow?" "You don't say.
What'll you have?" "Bombay Martini straight up,
with olives, very dry and very cold." "I like
a man who knows what he wants" "Well, I'll
tell you. She was a handsome, self-assured woman,
a practicing physician, 48, bright, in great shape,
played tennis every Friday night,
didn't drink, smoke, or take drugs,
and was looking for a Romeo with brains.
So naturally I didn't phone her"

 

 

November 6    Click to hear this poem in real audio, read by David Lehman


Remember when Khrushchev said
"We will bury you!"
on the cover
of Time
I thought he was
employing a metaphor
as in "Braves Scalp Giants!"
on the back page
of the Daily News
I pictured the Russians
burying us under a mound
of all the rubble
that rubles could buy
when what he meant was
he had come not to praise Caesar
but to bury him


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Three poems by David Lehman from his upcoming book
TCR September 1999 Feature

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