SELF PORTRAIT IN A CONVEX MIRROR 2 • Paul Legault

Paperback / 88 pages
Fence Books / 2016


In 1975 John Ashbery published Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror and the book won the three major American prizes—the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Now it has won an oppositional-compliant ardent admirer in Paul Legault, who relates directly and dreamily to each poem, from memory, face en face. The relationship is complicated.

From "As One Put Drunk into the Packet-Boat 2":

I tried the immortal things—some of them were free.
The glass in front of us stopped us
At least for a while, waiting for the light to do its thing: sift
Through the previously unwaded-through season
Like someone named Autumn, walking around

In autumn. The dispatcher mimics the dispatch
Simultaneously to its arrival. The controlled environment
Became compromised by a Circean power. We decided
Who'd come in. I wasn't going anywhere,
Me having filled my white pockets;
But if you'd mentioned the time, I would've suggested
We rise to the occasions. Things weren't necessarily lost,
But that, like whether we could feed the entire company,
Depended on where you stood—and in what structure.

Paul Legault was born in Ontario and raised in Tennessee. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia and a BFA in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California. Legault is the co-founder of the translation press Telephone Books and the author of three books of poetry. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and serves as a writer-in-residence at Washington University.

︎ Condition note: Good
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