Twilight Zone in the US
Remember When Cher was in a Gang?

Cher and Putting Together a Book of Poems

As I was reading Ordering the Storm: How to Put Together a Book of Poems edited by Susan Grimm, I came across a Cher reference in the essay "Order & Mojo: Informal Notes on Getting Dressed" by Beckian Fritz Goldberg:

...the best order for a manuscript is one that suits the personality of the work. If you're Cher you can wear a sequined Bob Mackie gown. If you're Willie Nelson you'd better try jeans and T-shirt. So you wouldn't necessary put your ms. in a tight dress if you are an expansive poet like Larry Levis or Gerald Stern and you wouldn't wear blue jeans and an old T-shirt if you were, say, Anna Akhmatova. review:


Cher in sequins and Cher in jeans.



Larrylevis Larry Levis

(from "Winter Stars")

I stand out on the street, & do not go in.
That was our agreement, at my birth.
And for years I believed
That what went unsaid between us became empty,
And pure, like starlight, & that it persisted.

I got it all wrong.
I wound up believing in words the way a scientist
Believes in carbon, after death.

Tonight, I’m talking to you, father, although
It is quiet here in the Midwest, where a small wind,
The size of a wrist, wakes the cold again—
Which may be all that’s left of you & me.

When I left home at seventeen, I left for good.

That pale haze of stars goes on & on,
Like laughter that has found a final, silent shape
On a black sky. It means everything
It cannot say. Look, it’s empty out there, & cold.
Cold enough to reconcile
Even a father, even a son.


Gerald stern

Gerald Stern

(Note: it took me a looong time to find a Gerald Stern poem that didn't give me a headache. This is the best I could do.)

Behaving Like A Jew

When I got there the dead opossum looked like
an enormous baby sleeping on the road.
It took me only a few seconds – just
seeing him there – with the hole in his back
and the wind blowing through his hair
to get back again into my animal sorrow.
I am sick of the country, the bloodstained
bumpers, the stiff hairs sticking out of the grilles,
the slimy highways, the heavy birds
refusing to move;
I am sick of the spirit of Lindbergh over everything,
that joy in death, that philosophical
understanding of carnage, that
concentration on the species.
--- I am going to be unappeased at the opossum’s death.
I am going to behave like a Jew
and touch his face, and stare into his eyes,
and pull him off the road.
I am not going to stand in a wet ditch
with the Toyotas and the Chevies passing over me
at sixty miles an hour
and praise the beauty and the balance
and lose myself in the immortal lifestream
when my hands are still a little shaky
from his stiffness and his bulk
and my eyes are still weak and misty
from his round belly and his curved fingers
and his black whiskers and his little dancing feet.



Anna Akhmatova

"I Was Born In the Right Time..."

I was born in the right time, in whole,
Only this time is one that is blessed,
But great God did not let my poor soul
Live without deceit on this earth.

And therefore, it's dark in my house,
And therefore, all of my friends,
Like sad birds, in the evening aroused,
Sing of love, that was never on land.



what kind of poetry would you classify these? they don't rhyme or even remotely resemble poem style.... i had lots of poems written kinda in their style and topics... they went South with all my other stuff, including my ENTIRE sonny&cher collection... I have been trying to remember them to re-write them, but i can't remember the entire content....

Cher Scholar

These poems are free verse, meaning they don't have end rhymes but most have internal rhyme (rhyme somewhere in the line). Anna Akhmatova is a translation and it's hard to translate poems for meaning and find English words that rhyme. The majority of poems have been published in free verse since the early 60s with poets like Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton and the beat poets like Allen Ginsberg. They tend to read like journal entries and hence are often called "confessional."


interesting info.
ever thought about teaching poetry classes?

Cher Scholar

That would be sweet! But competition out there is pretty fierce - a lot of outa work poets tumbling out of MFA programs. :-(


but you have something SPECIAL: a passion! not just a need.....

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