New York Poems

( 3 )


New York Poems is dedicated to "The City of New York: embattled, gallant, enduring" by celebrated poet D. H. Melhem, who calls the Upper West Side her "muse." D. H. Melhem's sharp eye looks at neighborhood struggles with blight and urban renewal (chastised as "Negro Removal"). She examines her city from the World Trade Center disaster to the present to the city's future. New York Poems combines her seminal book of poetry, Notes on 94th Street, with her second volume about the neighborhood, Children of the House ...
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New York Poems is dedicated to "The City of New York: embattled, gallant, enduring" by celebrated poet D. H. Melhem, who calls the Upper West Side her "muse." D. H. Melhem's sharp eye looks at neighborhood struggles with blight and urban renewal (chastised as "Negro Removal"). She examines her city from the World Trade Center disaster to the present to the city's future. New York Poems combines her seminal book of poetry, Notes on 94th Street, with her second volume about the neighborhood, Children of the House Afire, whose emblematic title poem describes a tragic fire she witnessed from her second-floor window. "Requiescant 9/11" ("let them rest"), a tribute sequence lamenting the martyrs of the World Trade Center closes Melhem's last collection, Conversation with a Stonemason. The author's preface and poem, "Prospect," survey the urban terrain. Melhem concludes with a lyrical panorama of her city's dynamic changes.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
New Yorker Melhem (Notes on 94th Street) here celebrates her native city by zooming in on the most mundane of activities, like eating pizza at the Formica counter or chatting with her unsociable cleaning lady. It is here, she observes, that "things are more delicate (and strong)/ within the edges of our expectations." Although absorbed quickly, the poems paint a compelling picture of a city made stoic by its tragedies. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815608134
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Notes on 94th Street 13
Foreword 15
Introduction 16
Broadway music 19
Tough babe doesn't beg 21
This tourist, resident 22
Horse at the corner 23
On 94th Street 24
Dogbaby 25
Picketing Jimmy's 26
Supermarket 27
Order boy 28
A pisser 29
P I Z Z A 30
Smiley's deli 31
Lore, at Green's 33
Mr. Lee's laundry 33
Dogwalker 34
Unnaturals 34
Accident 35
Crier (song) 36
By the Hudson 37
Slum garbage collection 38
From the second floor 39
From the sixteenth floor 40
Musicale 41
Cockroach : a tribute 42
Schoolday 43
Moving in 43
Mugging 44
Doorman 45
Morning 46
Conversation 46
S. R. O. 47
Cleaning lady 48
Lamentation after Jeremiah to exorcise high rental / high rise building scheduled for construction with public funds 49
On the roof 50
John Wayne's in bed with you, Sylvia 51
I came awake 52
Overkill 53
Order 54
First snow 55
Lovers / Joan of Arc statue, 93rd Street 56
Wishing (song) 57
Sometimes, baby I think 58
Black sugar 59
Mrs. Pink Plastic 60
Cold poem 1 61
Cold poem 2 61
Cold poem 3 : hotel 62
Cop and robber (song) 63
In the park 64
After dinner 65
Home movies on Broadway 66
Imperfections 67
For Dana and Gregory, explaining somewhat why we stayed 68
Antinomy 69
Fulcrum 71
On heroes, hero-worship / footnote to Carlyle 72
For Kay Leslie 73
For Max and Isabel Manes 74
For Max and Isabel Manes, poem revised 75
Dissident poet 76
For Jennette Washington 77
Margaret Cook : : 78
Incident at St. Gregory's, April 21, 1970 79
Panther 81
Up here 86
The blue man 87
Children of the house afire/more notes on 94th Street 89
D. H. Melhem : a reassessment 91
Microcosm 93
To the sun 95
Window woman 96
Strangers 97
Two versions of a plane tree 98
Screamer : 99
Winter woman 99
Subway 100
Express 100
Trackman 101
ON STRIKE : Local 32B, April 1976 102
Workman 102
On the street 103
Toward a redistribution of wealth 103
Ginkgo 104
From my window 105
You, 105
To the symphony theater 106
Electrician 107
Riverside 108
Park mother 108
The harlequin lady 109
In the street 110
On 137th Street 111
Pigeonlady 112
Capitalism 113
Politics : a declamation with demurrers 114
Children of the house afire : 115
Love notes 119
Watching the tall ships on the Hudson July 4, 1976 126
You, me, and Wallace Stevens's "The snow man" 127
For a troubled friend 128
L., asleep 129
The cool swan 130
Rose poems 131
The dying call us 133
Wedding-day, January 17, 1970 134
Dear aunt, upon your wedding 135
At St. Vincent's 136
Brimming the chalice of that pillow 137
From one closed eye 138
Rosie 139
To thc music of Rose and Henry 140
Macrocosm 143
Poems 145
New York Times, August 15, 1976 "as Lebanon dies" 146
On the tendency toward solipsism in literature 147
For Seurat, his "Sunday afternoon on the island of la Grande Jatte" 148
For Greg and Roslynn at Woods Hole 149
For Margaret, at ninety-three, convalescing 150
On the rejection of an Attica prisoner for funeral rites, September 18, 1971 151
For an old woman killed in the Monterey Hotel, October 30, 1975 152
Leviathan 153
On bombing one's own troops erroneously 155
To George Jackson (a dirge) 156
Song for Angela Davis in thc women's house of detention 157
For Delacroix, his "liberty leading the people" 158
To the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg at the village gate 160
Attention 161
Requiescant 9/11 163
September 11, 2001, World Trade Center, aftermath 165
Mindful breathing 170
Lines composed a few miles above St. Paul's Chapel, and beside the viewing platform, Ground Zero, July 4, 2002 172
Niagara Falls, after Ground Zero 175
Prospect 177
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2006

    A Great Gift

    D. H. Melhem's New York Poems is a great gift to readers and makes a great gift?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2006

    Another form of creative anthropology and sociology

    Poet and scholar D. H. Melhem brings what many call the City of the World to life. Through her elegant and sensitive use of language, she provides not only a rich history of New York but a true rendering of what it means to live, work, study and just simply be a part of this city. D. H. Melhem has created a richly textured poetic documentary. This is no small measure. She brings readers a remarkable gift¿to share the authentic pulse of this city. Readers can feel and sense joy, frustration, and sorrow, most particularly when she describes 9/ll. Yet, her book is about a having a feeling of hope, of better days in front of us if we work toward creating changes. D. H. Melhem is a writer of enormous range and vision she cares deeply about social justice. Her writing is about addressing issues that get readers thinking, and in the process she also inspires writers to be more pro-active. If you are a reader and not a writer, you feel the need to make a difference in your own community. D. H. Melhem¿s New York Poems lead us and remind us of what we can do not only as writers but also as citizens to encourage dialogue on a variety of political and social issues. Technically, this is the finest poetry book I have encountered by one author with endless examples of various styles and forms, all of which are accessible to those who simply read poetry for enjoyment. Also, this book has the feel of an anthology by diverse contributors, but this is the work of one woman with impeccable credentials. She is a woman with tremendous leadership skills and is currently the vice-president of the International Women¿s Writing Guild. I would describe D. H. Melhem as one of the finest poets of this generation. This is a book that can be thought of as a ¿mentor¿ for the aspiring poet, and for the seasoned writer/scholar, having this book in your possession is like having a good and trusted friend/colleague with you as you explore your own writing. A writer can and should explore many forms to get her truth on paper. I highly recommend this book because it has a classic quality that invites the reader to reflect, but most importantly, to embrace so many possibilities. D. H. Melhem¿s writings remind each of us to cherish our own roots and our sense of place in this world. This collection confirms that poetry is more than art it is another form of creative anthropology and sociology. In essence, D. H. Melhem not only honors the past with brutal honesty and compassion but speaks to how we must respond to our world today. In her Epilogue, Earth Speaks, she ends with ¿Love is the sternest prayer. All life deserves respect.¿

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    teeming diversity of New York streets

    Melham's world is expansive and diverse, filled with teeming humanity, hopeful, indefatigable life. She's the 'daughter of Lebanese immigrants and a native of Brooklyn [who feels she is] quintessentially American.' The abundant life in her poems is mostly in the upper West Side of New York, where she now lives. It has come to her as traditional immigrant groups and newly arrived ones, and the myriad activities and behaviors of the huge population of a vibrant and crowded city. 'Broadway Music' goes in part, 'And the old men sing with her/they dream through the curving wood and metal/and the forms of the sounds that go out/as if the dirty newspapers and today's news/the people running up subway stairs/the dogs the pimps the hustlers....' This calls to mind Lorca's vision of New York, the eye of a newcomer. The bustle and melange of street life is not the hollow motions of idlers and the aimless, but the music of the infinite dreams and constant negotiations of the nameless, but not faceless nor anonymous, population.

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