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As the resident poet at EcoHealth Alliance, my verse finds inspiration these days in the spectre of future pandemics. For my dissertation at LMU's Amerika-Institut, I'm anatomizing the poetics of E. A. Robinson's sonnets. I also teach English at Münchner Volkshochschule and lead the Amerikahaus Literary Circle.

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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