The Cortland Review

Gerald Stern
Five poems by Gerald Stern.

Christopher Buckley
Michael Burkard
Jeff Friedman
Ross Gay
Jack Gilbert This marks an author's first online publication
Linda Gregg
Jane Hirshfield
Tony Hoagland
Joan Larkin
Dorianne Laux
Jan Heller Levi
Anne Marie Macari
Ed Ochester
Alicia Ostriker
Kathleen Peirce This marks an author's first online publication
Peter Richards
Ira Sadoff
Jean Valentine
Arthur Vogelsang This marks an author's first online publication
Judith Vollmer
Anne Waldman
Peter Waldor
Michael Waters This marks an author's first online publication
"The Final Vocabulary of Gerald Stern" by David Rigsbee.

Book Review
"Save the Last Dance" by Gerald Stern—Book Review, by David Rigsbee.

Anne Waldman

Anne Waldman is the author, most recently, of Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble (Penguin, 2004), Outrider (La Alameda, 2006), and Manatee/Humanity, forthcoming from Penguin Poets in Spring 2009. She is the Artistic Director of The Summer Writing Program at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, a program she co-founded with Allen Ginsberg. She has a recent CD, Matching Half, with Akilah Oliver and music and production by her son Ambrose Bye.


"I am marking a day for wisdom"
               —Gerald Stern

       for Gerald Stern

morning, an ambush
of sympathy
something on the stove

academy as in "a walking grove of trees"
we inhabit
firm in the practice of apprenticeship
a talking poetics, how we live in it
make it, poesis
Ross stirs the oatmeal
tender his service of the elder
mornings like this
communal, collegial as in
takes the chill off

I'll fetch the milk
from the other refrigerator
simplicity too
poets going about the work
in a culture that flees from love
brutal warmongering
don't get me started so early in the day

you so good at writing of love
& restless humanity
& sweet details
of how it all feels a body poetics
not code in a  body
nor sweet metaphor but be the body
that could hug all the contradictions

our language always morphs
"poultry" becomes "poetry"
Frost and his chickens somewhere nearby
New England under warming siege
saw a bluebird
worms coming up
January?  in our new
"eco-challenged world"
is that how one pundit put it?
eschew responsibility
twist the language
in the Anthropocene
nothing not run by us
masters of the universe
think again, interstices of language

commenting on the texts
we share
several generation's  protest
antinomy, the stupidity of those
that governed
stupid war they started
& we go blue speaking of it
& who is missing
Allen G.
& moons ago you
came to Ted Berrigan's funereal
"to honor the poet", paths cross
for years in the twilight poet-world

out a window
here, an homage
you who
awake conscience
prodigious clatter on whose
field we inhabit
I'd say the field of Mars
I'd say
turf of poets and madmen and
protest again this brutal war

Poetry poetry!
a thread that provokes
a street to
take a new bridge from
old mill stream
what we live through
twilight that the century
begins in how many times damning
needy for news
"pacts & sects"
downtown for the Times
you got the last one
take the pace of the town
a measure of a man
you bundled up in the distance
walking forward, wool cap on head
my eyes tearing too
trees discordant
under snow
& you are the story

and a year or so since
celebrating your beloved's
shining poems
we spoke of the new Prez
a buoyant hope
for America?
like Giordano Bruno bursting
out of superstitious darkness
into Copernican heliocentricity?

maybe we can live/write the new utopia



© 2008 The Cortland Review