lyn lifshin


Early, Last Day of June

Leaf musk, cardinals.
Jade presses screens.
Night moths pleat
into themselves
like skirts from
the fifties.
Sun tea on slate.
Blue sandals left
near my motherís
bed. Spackle of
branchesí shadow
on redwood. Rose
wind. The young
girl across the
street parading
her body like
a ruby


May, Drizzle, Virginia

Sixth day of pewter.
The cat coils under
the microwave, ex-
cited by garbage
trucks as i open
mail, a little cautious
as if something
dangerous could be
there. Bruise sky.
Ozoneís cheap perfume
in the trees. I think
of Robert Johnson
with a poisoned drink
in one hand from some
one sure heíd been
cheating with his wife,
sang bury my body by
the old railroad
sign so i can catch a
ride on the old Grey-
house bus and ride and
ride. Dead at 28, a
voice says as the cat
coils on terrycloth as
if it was purple velvet
maybe dreaming of
gizzards or being
worshiped with flayed
salmon and sparrows


The Birds Like A Radio On All Night

There, in the dark.
You canít touch
whatís closer than
the sheets but a

presence wraps you
deeper. It was after
12 when their wings
and honks stirred

the lake. A skid
of webs, flutter
in black silence.
The moon revealed

nothing. I shut the
light off, floated
under blankets like
eel grass, the radio

low, waiting for their
cries like a woman
listening for a child
in the next room


from the book Before It's Light
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Before It's Light - Lyn Lifshin
$16.00 (1-57423-114-6/paper)
$27.50 (1-57423-115-4/cloth trade)
$35.00 (1-57423-116-2/signed cloth)
Bird.gif - 156 BytesBlack Sparrow Press

Lyn Lifshin

     Lyn Lifshin has written more than 100 books and edited 4 anthologies of women writers. Her poems have appeared in most poetry and literary magazines in the U.S.A., and her work has been included in virtually every major anthology of recent writing by women. She has given more than 700 readings across the U.S.A. and has appeared at Dartmouth and Skidmore colleges, Cornell University, the Shakespeare Library, Whitney Museum, and Huntington Library. Lyn Lifshin has also taught poetry and prose writing for many years at universities, colleges and high schools, and has been Poet in Residence at the University of Rochester, Antioch, and Colorado Mountain College. Winner of numerous awards including the Jack Kerouac Award for her book Kiss The Skin Off, Lyn is the subject of the documentary film Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass. For her absolute dedication to the small presses which first published her, and for managing to survive on her own apart from any major publishing house or academic institution, Lifshin has earned the distinction "Queen of the Small Presses." She has been praised by Robert Frost, Ken Kesey and Richard Eberhart, and Ed Sanders has seen her as " a modern Emily Dickinson."

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A New Film About a Woman in Love with the Dead
by Lyn Lifshin, 2002, 109 pages, $20.00, ISBN 1-882983-83-1 (March Street Press, 3413 Wilshire Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408)

     Almost every woman I know has had at least one heart-wrenching experience with a "bad news" boyfriend, and Lyn Lifshin is no exception. In this new collection of 103 poems she chronicles her own relationship with such a man, one who happened to be a popular radio personality, yet possessed a chilly heart. She tells her tale in a sequence of poems that reads like a novel, spanning the length of the relationship from beginning to end, including a period of time years later when she learns he has died of cancer....

Laura Stamps

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book reviews w/basinski:

Cold ComfortBefore It's Light

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