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Opus Posthumous

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When I painted, everybody saw.
When I played piano, everybody heard.

I ate your raspberries.
The sign no trespassing applied to me.

Now, the hemlocks have grown higher than the house.
There’s moss on my stoop, a little mildew
In the shower but you’ve never seen my shower.

I can undress by the window,
I can sleep in the barn.

The sky, which is cloudy,
Suits the earth to which it belongs.

Source: Poetry (September 2012)
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Opus Posthumous

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  • A poet as well as an influential literary critic and a professor of English at the University of Rochester, James Longenbach writes primarily on modernist and contemporary poetry. He is the author of the critical works Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats, and Modernism (1988), Wallace Stevens: The Plain Sense of Things (1991), Modern Poetry After Modernism (1997), The Resistance to Poetry (2004), The Art of the Poetic Line (2008), and The Virtues of Poetry (2013).
    His poetry collections include Threshold (1998), Fleet River (2003), Draft of a Letter (2007), The Iron Key (2010) and Earthling (forthcoming).
    Influenced by Yeats and Stevens, he connects ordinary events with cultural and historical references such as myths, wars, Venice, and Petrarch. Reviewing The Iron Key, Dan Radar noted, “like [Elizabeth] Bishop, Longenbach embraces high lyricism. His poems are tightly conceived, elegantly architectural, and sophisticatedly enunciated.”
    Longenbach’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and several editions of The Best...

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