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Dick Allen
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 12, 2007 12:29PM

For some unknown reason, I awoke yesterday morning thinking about this thread:

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Reading the poem over again, I occurred to me that we had never successfully determined all the references contained therein.

The selfishness of the poetry reader
( sometimes I think I'm the only . . . )
by Dick Allen

Sometimes I think I'm the only man in America
who reads poems
and who walks at night in the suburbs,
calling the moon names.

And I'm certain I'm the single man who owns
a house with bookshelves,
who drives to work without a CD player,
taking the long way, by the ocean breakers.

No one else, in all America,
Quotes William Meredith verbatim,
cites Lowell over ham and eggs, and Levertov;
keeps Antiworlds and Ariel beside his bed.

Sometimes I think no other man alive
is changed by poetry, has fought
as utterly as I have over "Sunday Morning"
and vowed to love those as difficult as Pound.

No one else has seen a luna moth
flutter over Iowa, or watched
a woman's hand lift rainbow trout from water,
and snow fall onto Minnesota farms.

This country wide, I'm the only man
who spends his money recklessly on thin
volumes unreviewed, enjoys
the long appraising look of check-out girls.

How could another in America know why
the laundry from a window laughs,
and how plums taste, and what an auto wreck
feels like-and craft?

I think I'm the only man who speaks
of fur and limestone in one clotted breath;
for whom Anne Sexton plunged in Grimm; who can't
stop quoting haikus at some weekend guest.

The only man, in all America, who feeds
on something darker than his politics,
who writes in margins and who earmarks pages-
in all America, I am the only man.

So, I shot off an e-mail to the author (who assured me he is still alive, recently took early retirement, walks an hour a day, and still writes poetry), and was lucky enough to get a quick response therefrom.

The luna moth is from April Inventory by W.D. Snodgrass,

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Laughing laundry is Richard Wilbur's Love Calls Us to the Things of This World:

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And the rainbow trout (perhaps predictably) is by recently-discussed Elizabeth Bishop:

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Here is a link to the Dick Allen site, should others wish more information on the gent:

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Still some refs left unanswered, you say? Might be fun to find them, right.

Re: Dick Allen
Posted by: MeanMan (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 12, 2007 02:08PM


This is a good read for this demagraphic.
I got stuck on the third stanza. It has an 'Oh, what a good boy am I' feel to it.


Re: Dick Allen
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 12, 2007 02:16PM

Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge

Re: Dick Allen
Posted by: MoonBabe (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 12, 2007 04:31PM

Now ya got my brain clicking on that topic

I vaguely remember a poem along the same lines

it'll come and when It does . . . the floodgates . . . whoosh . . .


On a different note---has anyone watched the British series Blood in the Wire?

I bought the DVD set because on Amazon, when buying "Reckless" (due to my Robson Green crush), I saw he was in that series. It's mesmerizing once you get into it. The psychological aspects and deep thinking his character does out loud and on a blackboard is so interesting to me. I'm hooked but almost out of DVDs.

Anybody else seen that show?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2007 04:32PM by MoonBabe.

Re: Dick Allen
Posted by: MoonBabe (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 12, 2007 05:38PM

Hugh---if you write the guy, can you ask him if that poem was in The Missouri Review or another relatively poplular one, because I remember reading one almost exactly like that back a while and it wasn't here on Emule? This issue will bug me till I remember where I read it, or at least the very similar one. It was so similar that it'd be like a knock-off.

Thanks for sharing that. I like your mind.


Re: Dick Allen
Posted by: JosephT (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 13, 2007 07:57AM


I didn't know of the man before reading this. I haven't decided yet whether I like his poetry, or him, as much as he does. But he is interesting, and it is good to have something fresh to read. Thanks for the introduction.


Re: Dick Allen
Posted by: petersz (24.7.62.---)
Date: August 15, 2007 05:24PM

the line that strikes me in this poem with an eerie force is

keeps Antiworlds and Ariel beside his bed.

This is so since I actually do keep these two book by my bed.

Another example of meaningless connection , I suppose. Much else in the poem has resonance, except the laughable arrogance of thinking one is 'the only one in America...' doing any given thing.

Cheers to all,


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