NABOKV-L post 0027720, Sun, 22 Apr 2018 15:26:42 +0000

Birthday: Shovel Poem for VN
For VN’s birthday this year, I thought I would try a new poetic form created by Terrance Hayes called a shovel poem. The idea is to take a line from another poet’s poem and use each word as successive end words to each line of a new poem, so you can read the original line by reading down the right margin. My poem borrows a line from John Shade which, alas, might be more appropriate to a death day poem.

Nabokov Dying

By lamplight of a febrile dream, I
Saw the house in Ithaca where we lived
In fifty-seven. We sat out on
The unmown lawn at night. Moths flew
Between white moons of dandelions. And on
Your blouse you pinned a firefly and in
Your hair a dark Vanessa closed the
Book of its wings. Darling, your eyes reflected
For an instant my face, then nothing, nothing but sky.

Matt Roth

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