"contemporary intimacies and opacities, shot through by deep pasts and unknown futures"

-- some bearing on Eliot???


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Subject: Poem-A-Day: They Were Not Kidding in the Fourteenth Century by Maureen McLane
Sent: Mon, Jul 1, 2013 10:39:02 AM

They Were Not Kidding in the Fourteenth Century

They were not kidding
when they said they were blinded
by a vision of love.

It was not just a manner
of speaking or feeling
though it's hard to say

how the dead
really felt harder 
even than knowing the living.

You are so opaque
to me your brief moments
of apparent transparency

seem fraudulent windows
in a Brutalist structure
everyone admires.

The effort your life
requires exhausts me.
I am not kidding.




Copyright 2013 by Maureen McLane. Used with permission of the author.  


About This Poem
"This poem will appear in my forthcoming book This Blue (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014)--a book devoted in part to ecology and transformations of courtly love, not least Dante's vision. The poem most likely springs from ongoing reading in and around Dante and Petrarch and troubadours as well as reading in the book of life. I'm interested in historical and lyrical conjunctures: contemporary intimacies and opacities, shot through by deep pasts and unknown futures.

--Maureen McLane

Most Recent Book by McLane

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011)


July 1, 2013

Maureen McLane's most recent book of poems is World Enough (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011). She is also the author of My Poets (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), an experimental hybrid of memoir and criticism which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography. McLane teaches at New York University. 
Photo credit: Joanna Eldredge Morrissey
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