Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Philip Levine on Naomi Replansky

Philip Levine gave his last lecture as the US poet laureate at the Library of Congress on May 3rd. His 40-minute address entitled "My Forgotten Poets" included a mention of one of our own. He fell in love with a poem by New York writer and Black Sparrow poet Naomi Replansky four years before she published her first book.

We're very proud to have just released Replasnsky's latest, Collected Poems, the collected work of a lifetime by a writer hailed as "one of the most brilliant American poets" by George Oppen. Here is a poem from the collection, for you now:

Nostalgic Memory
of New York

When you come back to,
Come back to the city,
Do not stand and wonder
    —Will it take me back?

It will take you back.

When you look down the
Streets you deserted
They will not rise up
To shake you off,

You, the unfaithful.

The wild automobiles
Will not rear in anger
Nor the gears clash
And their teeth be broken

Just to behold you.

The buildings that never
Bowed down in grief
To see you depart
Will take you back

With their heads high.

And the rush-hour crowd
Will sweep you off your feet
And the short-order cook
Will sizzle you in fat.

Be proud of your welcome.   


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