The Invisible Person

By James Laughlin 1914–1997 James Laughlin
Life kept rolling her over   
like a piece of driftwood

in the surf of an angry sea   
she was intelligent and beau-

tiful and well-off she made   
friends easily yet she wasn’t

able to put the pieces to-
gether into any recognizable

shape   she wasn’t sure who   
she wanted to be   so she

ended up being no one in par-
ticular   she made herself al-

most invisible   she was the   
person you loved so much who

really wasn’t there at all.

James Laughlin, “The Invisible Person” from Poems New and Selected. Copyright © 1996 by James Laughlin. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Poems New and Selected (1998)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet James Laughlin 1914–1997

 James  Laughlin

Biography

While a sophomore on leave of absence from Harvard University, James Laughlin met Ezra Pound in Rapallo, Italy, and was invited to attend the "Ezuversity"—Pound's term for the private tutoring he gave Laughlin over meals, on hikes, or whenever the master paused in his labors. "I stayed several months in Rapallo at the 'Ezuversity,' learning and reading," recalls Laughlin in an interview with Linda Kuehl for the New York Times . . .

Continue reading this biography

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.