The Trout

By James Laughlin 1914–1997 James Laughlin
A trout let us say
a blue blonde trout

that slips through   
the bars like water

from boite to boite   
from man to man but

only ones she likes   
and almost never for

money and I love she   
says I love exagger-

ate and her mother   
asked the neighbors

qu’est-ce que j’ai   
fait au ciel pour

avoir une fille qui   
est de l’ordure and

she came back from   
the palaces of the

king’s cousin out in   
Siam where they ate

off gold plates and her   
whim was his com-

mand came back to the   
bars and the boys and

the slow swim through   
the dim light yes a

trout let us call her   
a small blonde trout.

James Laughlin, “The Trout” 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)

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Poet James Laughlin 1914–1997

Subjects Men & Women, Relationships

 James  Laughlin


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 . . .

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SUBJECT Men & Women, Relationships

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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