Scripture: “Man shall not live by bread alone.”
I love you helps, even if said alone.
A life freshens when lived in company.
Awful to die, and then be dead, alone.
Don’t reread authors drunk on violence.
What picture’s painted in blood-red alone?
Things drab or useless may have hidden virtues.
The alchemist wrings gold from lead alone.
Why should I want to do group meditation?
Vision won’t chat; it breathes, instead, alone.
Pets always push each other from the dish.
A dog or cat likes being fed alone.
Yes, Rogers lent Astaire some sex appeal,
But lightning struck Immortal Fred alone.
Alfred Corn is the author of eleven books of poems, the most recent titled Unions (2015) and two novels, the second titled Miranda’s Book, which also appeared in 2015. His two collections of essays are The Metamorphoses of Metaphor and Atlas: Selected Essays, 1989-2007. He has received the Guggenheim, the NEA, an Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters, and one from the Academy of American Poets. He has taught at Yale, Columbia, Connecticut College, The University of Cincinnati, and UCLA. In 2013 he was made a Life Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge. In 2015 he was guest speaker at the new museum in Wuzhen, China, dedicated to the work of the painter and writer Mu Xin. In the spring of 2016 Chamán Ediciones in Spain published Rocinante, a selection of his work translated in Spanish, the same translation appearing the following year in Mexico under the title Antonio en el desierto. A new collection of essays titled Arks & Covenants appeared in May of 2017. In October of 2016, Roads Taken, a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Alfred Corn’s first book All Roads at Once was held at Poets’ House in New York City, and in November 2017 he was inducted into the Georgia Writers’ Hall of Fame.
Next year W.W. Norton will bring out his translation of Rilke’s Duino Elegies, from which this excerpt is taken.
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