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My Ambition

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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)

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

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My Ambition

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