The Daily Mirror
A Journal in Poetry(amazon)
David Lehman (View Bio)
Trade Paperback: Scribner, 2000.
In the footsteps of William Stafford and Robert Bly, David Lehman set out to write a poem a day. Spontaneity and self-discipline are not self-contradictory. THE DAILY MIRROR is a stirring, vivid collection of poems.
"As frisky, as potent and as readable as any poetry volume that's come down the pike in a while. This book collects the best of Lehman's 'daily poems,' the fruits of his attempt, beginning in 1996, to write a poem a day for two years. The bulk of the verse here deals with the quotidian stuff of Lehman's life -- lunching with fellow poets, kvetching about critics, falling behind on his e-mail, worrying about whether a subletter has nicked his favorite Sinatra CD -- and they read like savvy postcards from the desk of a neurotic, overworked New York poet. It's Lehman's whimsy, though, that wins you over. When he gets a headache after reading an obituary of one of his enemies, for example, he cracks open a bottle of Tylenol and notices that 'it spells lonely backwards with / only the initial T added, signifying / taxes no doubt.' (In another poem, he notes with satisfaction that if you spell the painter Jeff Koons's name backward, you get 'Snook.') Even the angrier bits here have some comic swing to them: 'As for the guy who reviewed Jim / Tate's book and called it 'almost / Victorian in its piety,' I got news / for you, buddy, not even the Victorians / were Victorian in their piety have you / ever read 'In Memoriam' or 'Dover Beach' / well, have you, punk?' Throughout THE DAILY MIRROR, Lehman's own punk spirit is pushed front and center." — Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review
"THE DAILY MIRROR reads like a sped-up meditation on the elemental stuff that we're made of: in this honed matrix of seeing, what's commonplace becomes the focues of extraordinary glimpses when these everyday images are juxtaposed into a mental geography made engaging by gazing into the daily mirror." — Yusef Komunyakaa
"THE DAILY MIRROR is a spirited, poetic romp through the days—sexy, energetic, jazzy, and just plain fun. Lehman has made this 'daily poem' idea very much his own. This book is bursting with life. It's an irresistible force." — James Tate
"I can think of no book of poems written in recent years that is entertaining as THE DAILY MIRROR. It is the work of a quick mind unflustered by the Big Apple. Its wit is dazzling, its charm constant, its immediacy refreshing. It is, quite simply, a terrific read." — Mark Strand
"I admit to being wildly envious of David Lehman's book. Imagine! A poem a day, and really good, charming, personal poems, too! Only the late William Stafford came even close to this accomplishment. Every place and person Lehman mentions is given a boost toward literary immortality." — Carolyn Kizer
"Catullus said never a day without a line, but David Lehman has raised the stakes to a poem a day. The result is THE DAILY MIRROR, a lively calendar of the life of a poet—daily improvisations that are entertaining, touching, and always bubbling with the fizz of contemporary life." — Billy Collins