Poems in the Manner Of

Poems in the Manner Of

by David Lehman


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Poems in the Manner Of is an illuminating journey through centuries of writers who continue to influence new work today, including that of respected poet and series editor of The Best American Poetry David Lehman.

“Very few writers can actually shape how you see the world. David Lehman is such a writer,” says Robert Olen Butler. Now the Best American Poetry series editor and New School writing professor channels, translates, and imagines a collection of “poems in the manner of” Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Shakespeare, W.B. Yeats, Rilke, William Carlos Williams, and more.

Lehman has been writing “poems in the manner of” for years, in homage to the poems and people that have left an impression, experimenting with styles and voices that have lingered in his mind. Finally, he has gathered these pieces, creating a striking book of poems that channels poets from Walt Whitman to Sylvia Plath and also calls upon jazz standards, Freudian questionnaires, and astrological profiles for inspiration.

Intelligent and sparkling, this is a great gift for poetry fans and a useful resource for creative writers. These are poems of wit and humor but also deep emotion and clear intelligence, informed by Lehman’s genuine and knowledgeable love of poetry and literature. From Catullus and Lady Murasaki to Wordsworth, Neruda, Virginia Woolf, W.H. Auden, and Charles Bukowski, Poems in the Manner Of shows how much life there is in poets of the past. And like Edward Hirsch’s How to Read a Poem and Robert Pinsky’s Singing School, this book gives you more than poetry. Whether you’re reading for pure enjoyment or examining how a poet can use references and influences in their own work, Poems in the Manner Of is a treasure trove of literary pleasures and food for thought.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501137396
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

David Lehman, the series editor of The Best American Poetry, is also the editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry. His eleven books of poetry include Playlist, Poems in the Manner Of, New and Selected Poems, When a Woman Loves a Man, and The Daily Mirror. The most recent of his many nonfiction books is One Hundred Autobiographies A Memoir. He lives in New York City and Ithaca, New York.

Read an Excerpt

Poems in the Manner Of
The unexpurgated Catullus is the most bawdy and profane of poets. He hurls insults with brutal candor and makes the reader feel like doing the same.

1. To a Critic

You made the mistake of praising my pain,

Flavius. This the connoisseurs of cool,

whose approval you seek and shall never gain,

could not condone. You should have known better.

They made you feel like a fool.

You joined in the laughter but it felt bitter.

And ever since you have panned

all work of my hand

with the result that I, too, despise you,

and I do not wish you well.

Yet I took no pleasure when I heard Junius tell

Calista your wife had cuckolded you

with her yoga teacher the same week

you faced a tax audit and ate a steak

with a side of fried poison, missed your train

and lost your job. I feel your pain,

Flavius. Not even a shmuck

like you deserves such lousy luck.

2. To a Rival

More beautiful than daffodils

in February or the face

that is always turned away

from the earth was Diana

a dance major at the High

School of Performing Arts

whose legs were long when

skirts were short, and what

was she doing with you

Junius, lecherous bastard who

tried to fuck every girl he met:

how could she fall for your shit?

Though I was born with a stutter,

Junius, I will denounce you yet

and win awards for my oratory

in a full session of parliament

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Part 1

Two Poems in the Manner of Catullus (To a Critic; To a Rival)-(84 BCE-54 BCE) 3

Poem in the Manner of Li Po-(701-762) 5

Poem in the Manner of Lady Murasaki-(c. 978-c. 1014-1025) 6

Poem in the Manner of Iago [i.e., Shakespeare]-(1564-April 23, 1616) 9

Poem in the Marnier of Polonius [i.e., Shakespeare]-(1564-April 23, 1616) 11

Hamlet, Interpreted [i.e., Shakespeare]-(1564-April 23, 1616) 12

Two Poems in the Courtly Manner-[17th century poetry] 16

Poem in the Manner of Basho-(1644-1694) 18

For I Will Consider Your Dog Molly [after Christopher Smart]-(April 11, 1722-May 21, 1771) 19

Goethe's Nightsong [after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: a translation]-(August 28, 1749-March 22, 1832) 22

Part 2

Autumn Evening [after Friedrich Hölderlin]-(March 20, 1770-June 7, 1843) 25

Cento: The True Romantics 26

Poem in the Manner of William Wordsworth-(April 7, 1770-April 23 1850) 27

On This Day I Do Not Enter My Sixth-and-Thirtieth Year [Lord Byron]-(January 22, 1788-April 19, 1824) 29

Poem in the Manner of John Keats-(October 31, 1795-February 23, 1821) 30

On Keats's Birthday-(October 31, 1795-February 23, 1821) 31

Poem in the Manner of Walt Whitman-(May 31, 1819-March 26, 1892) 34

Poem in the Manner of Charles Baudelaire-(April 9, 1821-August 31, 1867) 36

Let's Beat Up Some Beggars! [after Baudelaire: a translation]-(April 9, 1821-August31, 1867) 37

Poem in the Manner of Emily Dickinson-(December 10, 1830-May 15, 1886) 39

The Hapless Hour [after Thomas Hardy]-[June 2, 1840-January 11, 1928] 40

Poem in the Manner of Gerard Manley Hopkins-(July 28, 1844-June 8, 1889) 41

Poem in the Manner of Arthur Rimbaud-(October 20, 1854-November 10, 1891) 42

Part 3

Freud Quiz [Sigmund Freud]-(May 6, 1856-September 23, 1939) 45

Poem in the Mariner of C. P. Cavafy- (April 29, 1863-Apnl 29, 1933) 56

Poem in the Manner of William Butler Yeats-(June 13, 1865-January 28, 1939) 57

Poem in the Manner of Gertrude Stein-(February 3, 1874-July 27, 1946) 58

Poem in the Manner of Robert Frost-(March 26, 1874-January 29, 1963) 59

Poem in the Manner of Rainer Maria Rilke-(December 4, 1875-December 29, 1926) 60

Poem in the Manner of Max Jacob [loose translation]-(July 12, 1876-March 5, 1944) 61

Poem in the Manner of Wallace Stevens (October 2, 1879-August 2, 1955) 63

The Matador of Metaphor [after Wallace Stevens]-(October 2, 1879-August 2, 1955) 64

Poem in the Manner of Wallace Stevens as Rewritten Gertrude Stein 65

Zone [after Guillaume Apollinaire: a translation]-(August 25, 1880-November 9, 1918) 66

Hotel [after Apollinaire: a translation]-(August 25, 1880-November 9, 1918) 72

Poem in the Manner of Virginia Woolf-(January 25, 1882-March 28, 1941) 73

On Kafka's Birthday [Franz Kafka]-(July 3, 1883-June 3, 1924) 75

Poem in the Manner of William Carlos Williams-(September 17, 1883-March 4, 1963) 77

Poem in the Manner of Ezra Pound-(October 30, 1885-November 1, 1972) 79

Two Poems in the Manner of Edna St. Vincent Millay-(February 22, 1892-October 19, 1950) 81

Brooklyn Bridge [after Mayakovsky: a translation]-(July 19, 1893-April 14, 1930) 83

Poem in the Manner of Vladimir Mayakovsky-(July 19, 1893-April 14, 1930) 90

Poem in the Manner of Dorothy Parker-(August 22, 1893-June 7, 1967) 91

Poem in the Manner of Marianne Moore-(November 15, 1897-February 5, 1972) 92

Poem Ending in a Phrase by Federico Garcia Lorca-(June 5, 1898-August 19, 1936) 93

Poem in the Manner of Henri Michaux-(May 24, 1899-October 19, 1984) 95

Poem in the Manner of Ernest Hemingway-(July 21, 1899-July 2, 1961) 96

Poem in the Manner of Jorge Luis Borges-(August 24, 1899-June 14, 1986) 97

Part 4

Poem in the Manner of Pablo Neruda-(July 12, 1904-September 23, 1973) 101

Poem in the Manner of W. H, Auden-(February 21, 1907-September 29, 1973) 102

Due Diligence (after W. H. Auden)-(February 21, 1907-September29, 1973) 103

Poem in the Manner of an Eric Ambler Spy Novel-(June 28, 1909-October 22, 1998) 105

Poem in the Manner of Robert Lowell-(March 1, 1917-September 12, 1977) 107

Poem Based on a Line from Gwendolyn Brooks-(June 7, 1917-December 3, 2000) 109

Poem in the Manner of Charles Bukowski-(August 16, 1920-March 9, 1994) 110

Ode on Punctuation [after Kenneth Koch]-(February 27, 1925-July 6, 2002) 111

On Marilyn Monroe's Birthday [after Frank O'Hara]-(March 27, 1926-July 25, 1966) 113

08/22/08 [after Frank O'Hara]-(March 27, 1926- July 25, 1966) 115

Poem in the Manner of Sylvia Plath-[October 27, 1932-February 11, 1963] 117

Poem in the Manner of Susan Sontag-(January 16, 1933-December 28, 2004) 118

I Remember [after Joe Brainard]-(March 11, 1941-May 25, 1994) 120

Part 5

Poem in the Prophetic Manner 127

Prose Poem in the Classic French Manner 129

Poem in the Manner of the 1940s 130

Poem in the Manner of the 1950s 132

Poem in the Manner of the 1960s 134

On the Lives of the Modern Poets 135

Poem Inspired by the Mind of T. S. Eliot 137

Cento: In a Drear-Nighted December 138

Highway 61 (Revisited) 139

Poem in the Manner of a Jazz Standard 141

Poem in the Manner of a Hit Song by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, c. 1945 142

Acknowledgments 143

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