Cover image for The daily mirror : a journal in poetry
The daily mirror : a journal in poetry
Lehman, David, 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[New York] : Scribner Poetry, [2000]

Physical Description:
158 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3562.E428 D27 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Following in the footsteps of such poets as Emily Dickinson, William Stafford, and Frank O'Hara, David Lehman began writing a poem a day in 1996 and found the experience so rewarding that he continued for the next two years. During that time, some of these poems appeared in various journals and on Web sites, including The Poetry Daily site, which ran thirty of Lehman's poems in as many days throughout the month of April 1998.
For The Daily Mirror, Lehman has selected the best of these "daily poems" -- each tied to a specific occasion or situation -- and telescoped two years into one. Spontaneous and immediate, but always finely crafted and spiced with Lehman's signature irony and wit, the poems are akin to journal entries charting the passing of time, the deaths of great men and women, the news of the day. Jazz, Sinatra, the weather, love, poetry and poets, movies, and New York City are among their recurring themes.
A departure from Lehman's previous work, this unique volume provides the intimacy of a diary, full of passion, sound, and fury, but with all the aesthetic pleasure of poetry. More a party of poems than a standard collection, The Daily Mirror presents an exciting new way to think about poetry.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lehman's poetic journal is a cabinet of wonders, displaying vitrine after vitrine of miraculously preserved New York School-style implacable, wacky joy. The author of The Last Avant-Garde, a critical study of the New York School zeitgeist, Lehman has clearly taken his previous subjects to heart: the incessant jazz, diners and movie stars; the abstract expressionists, yellow taxicabs and eternal Ebbets Fields reveries might make readers think this book's pub date a typo for, say, 1960. The poems are in fact eerily perfect replicas of the O'Hara and Koch originals-the poetic equivalent of Gus Van Sant's shot by shot re-creation of Hitchcock's Psycho. In Lehman's world, it is Ella Fiztgerald who has died, rather than Billie Holiday, but Larry Rivers is here intact, along with Khrushchev, Joe Dimaggio, Grace Kelly and Arthur Miller. When the technique is applied to a more contemporary cast of characters, an odd shifting of perspective occurs, almost like hearing Edward R. Murrow narrating the Gulf war, or William Shirer writing about Monica Lewinsky: "Today I decided/ Bill Clinton is/ the Tina Brown/ of politics/ the magazine is/ in the red but/ it's the talk of/ the town the biggest/ collage of celebrities/and meritocrats this/ side of the Inferno/ (trans. Robert Pinsky)." More often, though, the poems are placidly indistinguishable from their mid-century models. (Taken as a diary, their anachronistic tone and scope becomes even stranger.) Far too scientific to be nostalgic, these replicants are all wrong as homage to the restlessly innovative originals. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



January 1 Some people confuse inspiration with lightning not me I know it comes from the lungs and air you breathe it in you breathe it out it circulates it's the breath of my being the wind across the face of the waters yes but it's also something that comes at my command like a turkey club sandwich with a cup of split pea soup or like tones from Benny Goodman's clarinet my clarinet the language that never fails to respond some people think you need to be pure of heart not true it comes to the pure and impure alike the patient and impatient the lovers the onanists and the virgins you just need to be able to listen and talk at the same time and you'll hear it like the long-delayed revelation at the end of the novel which turns out to be something simple a traumatic moment that fascinated us more when it was only a fragment an old song a strange noise a mistake of hearing a phone that wouldn't stop ringing January 2 The old war is over the new one has begun between drivers and pedestrians on a Friday in New York light is the variable and structure the content according to Rodrigo Moynihan's self-portraits at the Robert Miller Gallery where the painter is serially pictured holding a canvas, painting his mirror image, shirtless in summer, with a nude, etc., it's two o'clock and I'm walking at top speed from the huddled tourists yearning to be a mass to Les Halles on Park and 28th for a Salade Niçoise I've just watched The Singing Detective all six hours of it and can't get it out of my mind, the scarecrow that turns into Hitler, the sad-eyed father wearing a black arm-band, the yellow umbrellas as Bing Crosby's voice comes out of Michael Gambon's mouth, "you've got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive, e-lim-inate the negative" advice as sound today as in 1945 though it also remains true that the only thing to do with good advice is pass it on January 3 The shrink says, "Everything depends on how many stuffed animals you had as a boy," and my mother tells me my father was left-handed and so is my son and they're both named Joe whose favorite stuffed animal was a bear called Sweetheart while I, the sole constant in this dream, am carrying a little girl who has a gun in her hand as I climb a brick wall on the other side is unknown territory but it has to be better than this chase down hilly streets where the angel disguised as a man with red hair drives the wrong way down a one-way street so he arrives late at the library where his son is held hostage he breaks in lifts the boy in his arms and tells the one kind man he had met that he and his brother would be saved but the others who had mocked him would surely die Copyright © 2000 by David Lehman Excerpted from The Daily Mirror: A Journal in Poetry by David Lehman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.