Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Meanwhile, Billy Strayhorn is taking the swan into Harlem

Finally got around to opening the new double issue of Poetry that arrived while I was away in Oregon. And what a lovely issue it is. New work by Billy Collins, Wendy Cope, Tony Hoagland and Dean Young (among others), this clever little ghazal by Patricia Smith, Naeem Murr's side-splitting piece about what living with a real poet is like, Sven Birkerts reminiscing about the time when Heaney, Brodsky and Walcott were all in Boston and used to hang out together getting drunk and telling silly jokes (the very thought of which sends yours truly dizzy with fanboy excitement) and this hilarious, brilliant take on Yeats by Joan Murray:

Leda and the Train

A sudden jolt: the A train stopping short
Upsets the staggering girl, her body goes
Out with the crowd, her handbag caught on board,
It holds her helpless as the train doors close.

How can those terrified vague fingers draw
Her handbag out before the subway leaves?
Or let it spill out on the subway floor,
And let some strangers scoop it up like thieves?

A shudder in her gut predicts some pain.
The wall's ahead, her steadfast feet have raced her
To the platform's end.
Being so caught up
So mastered by the swift speed of the train,
Did she come to a knowledge of what faced her
Unless her reluctant hand could let it drop?

- Joan Murray


Cheshire Cat said...

lol@Naeem Murr. But wouldn't it be perfect if the Poet was fictional?

Space Bar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Space Bar said...

yes, truly hilarious. I like the way Magritte is hovering on the edges of this one; shall do a post immediately.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing me to the Poetry magazine! And Naeem Murr's profile of a poet is hilarious and so true!


Falstaff said...

cat: Yes, gorgeous piece, isn't it? And I don't know that she isn't.

space bar: Nice post. Though I think we can safely say that it's a post about everything Murr's article is not.

M: You're welcome. Yes, it is scarily accurate isn't it?