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Posts Tagged ‘Lee Upton Privacy’


I always get a little glad feeling in my heart when I am reading a poem and realize it’s going to be fun. In the April 29th New Yorker, Lee Upton’s poem, “Privacy,” starts: “I like a private life… sometimes… so private if I say anything that’s even a little bit / arguably private / I feel disdain for myself.” As with many New Yorker poems, the moment such a thesis, or in this case tone, is presented, the author backtracks, goes another direction, keeps us guessing. “I remember how cruel people were to my mother…” This poem examines privacy in different aspects, from doctors keeping important news from their patients, to friends bragging on themselves, to how even this poem reflecting on privacy gives up a bit of privacy… and we’re back to the lighter tone. “Today I’m wearing a big CONFIDENTIAL / sign around my neck.” I like this mix of approaches, and the depth it creates.

The other poem in this issue, “April,” by Sandra Simonds, also has a light-hearted sensibility. “The red bird falls from the tree, lands on / its head, rolls / right back up.” We worry about the bird, but no, it’s fine, saying, “Hello, Spring. / Hello, sanity.” It’s good to have a little danger, a little worry, to hook the reader. A poem of joy, of embracing the unexpected, and going with the flow. We should all have such light-hearted moments, and spring is the best time to have them.

Peace in Poetry,

P M F Johnson

My book of poems, Against The Night, a wry look at a love that builds through a long marriage, is available on Amazon, and at other fine e-retailers.

Related blog posts:

Plainsongs – Winter 2019

The Missouri Review – Winter 2018

The New Yorker – Mar 25 & Apr 1, 19

 

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