Poetry

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I too dislike it
the mystified truisms
the dusty puzzle-​prunes
the theatrical exaggerations:
“the brutal crescendo of woodworms”–

yet I think of O’Hara’s delight
in the endless pleasures
of quotidian life and Duhamel
throwing a dozen balls in the air
and juggling them all
Frank said only a few poems
are as good as the movies
but that was a long time ago
before a lot of bad movies
before background music before
there was almost no silence and
”the private life” is an insult to others.

Poetry is the most private art:
Li-​Young remembering his father
combing his mother’s hair,
Stern and Gilbert with their mouths open
walking down a street in Paris, Judith
writing the mysteries of Level Green
and her father’s radioactive chambers.

Catullus registering his private ecstasies
and fears while the machine of the state
ground on. Kinnell saying “go so deep
into yourself you speak for everyone.”


Pittsburgh Quarterly is now accepting submissions for its online poetry feature. PQ Poem is seeking poetry from local, national and international poets that highlight a strong voice and good use of imagery, among other criteria. To have your work featured, send up to three previously unpublished poems in Word or PDF format as well as a brief bio to

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but if work is accepted elsewhere, please alert us.


Ed Ochester

Ed Ochester’s latest book of poems, “Sugar Run Road” (Autumn House Press) was released in 2015. He is the editor of the Pitt Poetry Series at the University of Pittsburgh Press, and edited American Poetry Now (Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 2007). He is also the general editor for the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for short fiction at the press. Educated at Cornell, Harvard, and the University of Wisconsin, Ochester has taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and was for twenty years the director of the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh. He was twice elected president of AWP. He lives, as he says, “in the sticks” outside Pittsburgh.

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