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Saturday, November 4, 2023

The 'gibberish' of life


“Of course a poem is a two-way street. No poem is any good if it doesn't suggest to the reader things from his own mind and recollection that he will read into it, and will add to what the poet has suggested.” – James Laughlin


Laughlin, born on this date in 1914, was founder of New Directions Publishing and author of more than 1,200 poems, most focused on everyday experiences, love, and life. 


The Academy of American Poets honors Laughlin’s memory through its annual “James Laughlin Award” in support of an author’s “second” book of poetry.   For Saturday’s Poem, exerpted from The Collected Poems of James Laughlin, here is,



                                                    What The Pencil Writes


                                                        Often when I go out I
                                                        put in my coat pocket


                                                        some paper and a pencil
                                                        in case I want to


                                                       write something down
                                                       well there they are


                                                       wherever I go and as
                                                       my coat moves the pencil


                                                       writes by itself
                                                       a kind of gibberish


                                                       hieroglyphic which I
                                                       often think as I undress


                                                      at night & take
                                                      out those papers with


                                                      nothing written on
                                                      them but strange and


                                                      meaningless marks is
                                                      the story of my life.

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