Reading David Dodd Lee

by | Oct 14, 2018 | Reading

Happy Sunday, all!

As fellow readers, book lovers, and writers, I know you have authors and books in your back pocket that you find yourself returning to from time to time. Maybe it’s an annual thing, maybe it’s when you’re having a rough time, or are in a creative slump. For me, one of those writers is David Dodd Lee… I’m finally getting around to really digging deep into his second collection of John Ashbery erasure poems, And Others, Vaguer Presences: A Book of Ashbery Erasure Poems, and reviewing it. I’ve read the collection before, right after its release, but not with the space and attention I wanted—so really, this review, going up tonight, is a long time coming.

In the meantime, here are a few poems I particularly love and praise from the collection:


I      shout

The rain

   to know

             It has
not come
             to take
   to God
             God is
at your house,
             wind swept
             a mind-crystal


You keep asking me that
              Trust me     I think

              that nice

   Pulled from space
            after they examined

          no one

          it was all
                    a longing in the loins

   I was going
                  to remind you of the story
         of the     overfed

   One got off
         The other was     dazed
            By the time

it was summer again
         somebody’s boy came up
   wandered over
                 their reputations


To true roses uplifted on the bilious tide of evening

          And morning glory


    I am

             light forever

    Or back into

            the grave


To be old
isn’t a bad idea    One is
    the sky,

      I know it’s none of my business, but

      dreams are
      good, a planet
      tiled with
      feathery to the touch

      as though autumn had fallen off
an animal,
             one as distinctive
      as some grand occasion
                          or event
      no one recognizes anymore


There is that sound
                like forgetting
time hardly seen
               the twigs of a tree
               the trees of a life
We,     among all others

                    And suddenly,
             to be dying
               a little mindless construction
of pine needles
              and winter
             of cold stars
              and summer

I step to a narrow ledge.
                My face resembles
             the one reflected in the water.

All poems appear in David Dodd Lee’s latest John Ashbery erasure poetry collection: And Others, Vaguer Presences: A Book of Ashbery Erasure Poems. Buffalo NY, BlazeVOX Books, 2017. It comes highly recommended, and is available here and here.

Image Credit: You can see the original, raw artwork over here!