My Ambition

By James Laughlin 1914–1997 James Laughlin

For Wade Hall

is to become a footnote
in a learned work of the

22nd century   not just a
“cf” or a “see” but a sol-

id note such as Raby gives
Walafrid Straho in Christ-

ian Latin Poetry or Ernst
Robert Curtius (the most

erudite German who ever
lived) devotes to Alber-

tino Mussato in his Euro-
päische Literatur und La-

teinisches Mittelalter   I
hope the scholar of the

22nd will lick his schol-
arly lips when he finds me

in some forgotten source
(perhaps the Obloquies of

Dreadful Edward Dahlberg)
and think here is an odd-
ball I would have liked,
immortalizing me in six

turgid lines of footnote.

October/November 1987

Source: Poetry (October 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2012
 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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Activities, School & Learning, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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