Poetry News

'I've been waiting to be here in this hell with you': Dorothea Lasky on Literary Mothers

By Harriet Staff


Our pal Dorothea Lasky writes for Literary Mothers about her influences: "When I read Marina Tsvetaeva, I realized I was full of a long lineage of passionate sisters who could withstand hell." She also writes about Plath, Dara Wier, Laura Solomon, and hell, natch:

The other day I was going to give a poetry reading and I thought of a poem Laura Solomon put on a recording for me of Alice Notley reading a poem about giving a poetry reading. It lasted 15 seconds and went like this: All my life/ Since I was 10/ I’ve been waiting to be in this hell here with you/ All I’ve ever wanted/ And still do

And then, after the mention of hell, Laura put a song on, the recording by Amadou & Mariam called “Senegal Fast Food,” which to me will always be the feeling you have when you decide not to die. Alice Notley and Amadou & Mariam, you are my Literary Mothers.

And the day I read myself in the poetry reading, when I was getting ready to pick out my colors to wear to the reading, I chose hot pink and black (kind of boring) and then I thought about a color to wear for my bracelets (I wear lots of bracelets) and I chose yellow.

And then I thought of a story of my mother and grandmother wearing pink and yellow together, even though you weren’t supposed to (who said so, I don’t know), but that they sometimes defiantly would do so.

So, I thought of them and I wore pink and yellow, and then when I went on the subway this woman sat next to me who said that, “Sorry, if this sounds weird, but I am going to Central Park today to marry myself and I think I was meant to sit next to you because those are my soul colors.”

Read Lasky's full piece at Literary Mothers. At top: Lasky in Italy, from her Tumblr.

Originally Published: June 20th, 2014