If I’m smiling on the train

If you see me smiling on the train, in the afterglow of my Conde catch-up, that’s because I’m reading McSweeney’s Poets Picking Poets. Each chapter starts with one poet’s poem. Then that poet chooses another poet, and so on. The results are stylistically varied, emotionally all over the map and — with the very idea of the poet thinking, listing, angsting and eventually deciding what influence to choose — smile-inducing.

My favorite poem from Monday was the very first, “The Charm of 5:30.”

It’s too nice a day to read a novel set in England.

We’re within inches of the perfect distance from the sun,
the sky is blueberries and cream,
and the wind is as warm as air from a tire.
Even the headstones in the graveyard
seem to stand up and say, “Hello! My name is…”

My favorite from Tuesday’s reading was “Look at Lesbia Now!

have you seen her walking alone thru this black and white town
her pink i-pod playing ryan adams, spoon, rilo kiley,
lucinda, arcade fire, the silver jews, mark mulcahy,
yeah, dylan; sufjan stevens, even,
wearing her usual yellow-pink blue woolen cap?

It’s a response of sorts to Catullus’ #8, the one where he tells himself he’s never getting Lesbia back. (See the translation and poet notes on the linked page.) I have to go head to the train now. I can’t wait.

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