Reading the Early Letters

i.m. Anthony Hecht

Why should it shock me that his younger self
spouts wordplay like a great baroque jet d’eau,
German abbreviations, French bons mots,
lettered allusions up and down the shelf
of the Bard’s dramas? And the KJV?
Even in wartime, juggling bric-a-brac!
A bright disguise, put on for family?
A carapace his later poems would crack?

False questions. My small shudder at the heart
drums from the memory of those pinched and bland
and few scribbles I sent from school back then
to parents shy of words and starved of art.
All parties artless, failing to understand
what mattered—
……………………….Fifty years, and I wince again.

Maryann Corbett

Maryann Corbett

Maryann Corbett spent almost thirty-five years working for the Office of the Revisor of Statutes at the Minnesota Legislature. She is the author of four books of poems, most recently Street View from Able Muse Press. Her work has appeared in journals like 32Poems, Ecotone, Literary Imagination, and Rattle and in anthologies like Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters. She is a past winner of the Richard Wilbur Award and the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize. One of her poems will be included in Best American Poetry 2018.
Maryann Corbett

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Author: Maryann Corbett

Maryann Corbett spent almost thirty-five years working for the Office of the Revisor of Statutes at the Minnesota Legislature. She is the author of four books of poems, most recently Street View from Able Muse Press. Her work has appeared in journals like 32Poems, Ecotone, Literary Imagination, and Rattle and in anthologies like Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters. She is a past winner of the Richard Wilbur Award and the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize. One of her poems will be included in Best American Poetry 2018.