Poem-a-Day Collection (20)

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Poem-a-Day Collection
by Knopf
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Poem-a-Day Collection by Knopf. Compilation copyright 2009 by Knopf.
All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.


Robert Lowell's Poetry Class

By Stephanie Hemphill

Sylvia stretches her skin
to fit someone else's bones—
her poems not yet her own.

George Starbuck, Syl, and I,
trinity of the master poet's class,
drink martinis, chow potato chips

at the Ritz, until slightly blitzed.
Drinks making us more real,
we talk suicide until laughter

tears from our eyes.
Then we bunch into my car
for the Waldorf Cafeteria's

seventy-cent dinner,
none of us having a better
or demanding home life to return to.

I implore Sylvia to push herself,
pluck the drum of her heart
until it bleeds. Sometimes I think

Lowell praises Sylvia too much,
or maybe he just sees something
in her language that I cannot.

--

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Excerpt from YOUR OWN SYLVIA. Copyright © 2007 by Knopf. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.




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