The Morning Line
David Lehman (View Bio)
Paperback: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021.
The Morning Line is David Lehman’s most ambitious book to date, combining wit, quotidian charm, and off-the-cuff spontaneity of poems written with candid and moving meditations on life, love, aging, disease, friendship, chance, and the possibility of redemption in a godless age.
Lehman is a poetic ventriloquist, and he expertly imitates Catullus and François Villon in new poems and offers his fresh translations of Mayakovsky’s “Cloud in Trousers” and Hölderlin’s “Half-Life.” The element of joie de vivre in Lehman’s work is distinctive and unusual in contemporary poetry.
"My pleasure in the poetry of David Lehman has usually derived from wondering what he will do next. Some years ago he experimented with writing a poem every day and dating it. Life’s quotidiana have furnished many of his poems with a charm—and that may be the foremost effect of a Lehman poem—without posturing or any self-regard. In fact, that charm – remember the word charm’s relation to song – comes with a certain sadness that is neither tragic nor desperate. Its insouciance and sprezzatura are authentic." — Mark Jarman, The Hudson Review