Wednesday, September 26, 2012



47 Years Later:  Robert Lowell in Meany Hall

"I wrote to remember."
Salman Rushdie

Life Studies was a
critical passage for those
of us who came of
age as poets in the mid-
Sixties.  Lowell, finally

loose from confinement,
had forced open the steel teeth
of formalism
to hang out his whole life on
the clothesline of confession,

and we wedged ourselves
into Meany Hall to see
how that looked and felt.
Lowell stll had about him
something of the posture of

a marionette,
but his voice plunged and rambled
deep in the abyss
below the Quaker graveyard,
flattening his New England

"r"s into awestruck
discoveries of just how
sick we really were--
all of us narcissistic
nabobs navel-picking our

way to Vietnam
or Latin America
or the Congo like
moles who had lost our groove in
a tunnel of sprung rythm.

I read my poem
"Homecoming" for Lowell in
John Logan's workshop,
and when he pronounced it good
I felt a star stick to my

forehead lik a cross
of ashes.  Anointed as
a Poet, I walked
out of the seminar room
leaving heelprints in the clouds.

Where was I going
in those pistachio slingback
sandals, anyway?
All these many years later
have I still no idea?

Perhaps the journey
IS that which really matters
when all our subway
tunnels empty out into
the same nameless boulevard.