Jun 20, 2011 Crossing Borders

In her recent essay “Trading Stories,” Jhumpa Lahiri talks about her growth from a child reader into full-time writer, and mentions along the way a handful of poets: Kazi Nazrul Islam, Carl Sandburg, Seamus Heaney, Bill Corbett, Ezra Pound. The two that piqued my curiosity were the 2 I’d never heard of, Islam and Corbett–and more on “the rebel” Kazi Nazrul Islam next week. Corbett sounds like someone I would have liked to bump into during my 9 years in Boston–he’s well-published but not famous, and has been a writing instructor at Harvard and MIT for years. He also edits a small press/literary magazine that prints chapbooks and the like by unheralded poets. And some of the Boston contingent may also know him for his book reviews in the Phoenix.
I found a poem by him that I really like. I don’t have much to say about it, but I sense a deep and wry humor. I suppose it’s about being a writer. Or is it? -ed.
The mailman. Gold hood.
The mailman. Cold out.
How many are there
like me sitting at
desk, unshaven, 10 a.m.
the radio on one
ear cocked for the crash
of mail through the slot?
You can’t live
for yourself alone.
Oh, you can but
is that all
there is to it?
Demonstrate charm,
advertise connectedness,
know the different
cheeses, how to garden
where to travel
until the dark rises
out of the indifferent bushes.

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