cool as the other side of the pillow

a dear friend recommended this book / this particular poem, so when it finally arrived in the mail the other day i started reading. here is a small sample from the title-poem:

This day, I want to
Send it to you, the sound of stirring air, soft
sunlight, quivering trees
That shake their needles and leaves like fingers
improvising on a keyboard
Scriabin in his softest mood, and the wind
rises and it all goes Delius,
The sky pale and freshly washed, the blue flaked
off here and there and
Showing white, flat and skimpy clouds haunting
a bright green, a soft blue day.




the morning of the poem is a long flow of language, intimate and honest, interesting and intriguing. it is almost a biography, at the same time a love letter, a goodbye, an introduction –


i am not a long-poem-reader sort of person. i like it short and snappy. to my standards, dylan thomas’ fern hill is already “long.” 🙂 i think it really speaks for this poem that – even though i have little patience for long poems – i kept reading. page after page after page. schuyler here has a good flow, vibrant images, and the poem feels like a deep conversation, the kind you would have with a very close friend. some people consider this poem one of the best long poems of the postmodern era (see here).


james schuyler (1923 – 1991) belongs to the New York School of Poets. he worked for and was friends with w.h. auden, roomed with ashberry and o’hara, lived in chicago, new york, italy, and finally manhattan. and he was homosexual.


this is already more than you need to know – if you want to know about him, read his poetry. in fact, i think that is the best way to approach any new poet / poetry you come across. don’t read ABOUT it first. READ IT. everything else is just facts. bo-ring.

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About annette.c.boehm

words escape me.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Things as They Are: James Schuyler’s Unashamed Reality | Outside of a Cat

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