Self-Portrait, 1969

By Frank Bidart b. 1939 Frank Bidart
He's still young—; thirty, but looks younger—
or does he? . . . In the eyes and cheeks, tonight,
turning in the mirror, he saw his mother,—
puffy; angry; bewildered . . . Many nights
now, when he stares there, he gets angry:—
something unfulfilled there, something dead
to what he once thought he surely could be—
Now, just the glamour of habits . . .
                                                                 Once, instead,
he thought insight would remake him, he'd reach
—what? The thrill, the exhilaration
unravelling disaster, that seemed to teach
necessary knowledge . . . became just jargon.

Sick of being decent, he craves another
crash. What reaches him except disaster?


Frank Bidart, "Self-Portrait, 1969" from In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-1990. Copyright © 1997 by Frank Bidart. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved.

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Source: In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-1990 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997)

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Poet Frank Bidart b. 1939

Subjects Living, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Painting & Sculpture

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Frank  Bidart

Biography

Frank Bidart’s first books, Golden State and The Book of the Body, both published in the 1970s, gained critical attention and praise, but his reputation as a poet of uncompromising originality was made with The Sacrifice, published in 1983. All three books are collected In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-1990. His position in American letters has been solidified through his later works, including Desire, Star Dust, and . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Painting & Sculpture

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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