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As the resident poet at EcoHealth, my verse finds inspiration these days in the spectre of global pandemics. At LMU Munich's Amerika-Institut, where I tutor composition and poetics, I'm anatomizing the sonnets of E. A. Robinson for my dissertation. I also teach at Münchner Volkshochschule and Amerikahaus.

20140528

Marsyas


by James Merrill


I used to write in the café sometimes:

Poems on menus, read all over town
Or talked out before ever written down.
One day a girl brought in his latest book.
I opened it--stiff rhythms, gorgeous rhyme--
And made a face.  Then crash! my cup upset.
Of twenty upward looks mine only met
His, that gold archaic lion's look

Wherein I saw my wiry person skinned

Of every skill it labored to acquire
And heard the plucked nerve's elemental twang.
They found me dangling where his golden wind
Inflicted so much music on the lyre
That no one could have told you what he sang.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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