Lyn Lifshin: an Appreciation

by Michael Simms

For thirty years, I’ve been reading Lyn Lifshin’s poems in independent literary magazines across the country.  I admire her integrity as a poet — she’s always true to her voice and vision — she never sounds like anyone else.  Here are three of her recent poems:


it’s the moves

not the man. He

could be the size

of a 12 year old

but he’s got the

beat in his body.

Who cares if he

is hardly up to

your nose. He

was shaking his

booty.  He can get

you to shake

yours too so any

black tulips

pulling you

down go dust

and vanish and

if they try to

return, he’ll

luga palooga

them, slam them

north with a

wild hip


The Man In Front of Me Has Run Out Of The Metro Station

He had just the right

look and carreid the

same book I’m reading.

He might have just

left his wife.  He might

have never wanted

a woman. Or wanted

a woman like me. But

he got off at Union

Station, vanished into

a cab. I didn’t see his

face, only his fingers

but he’ll come to me

in dreams where

he won’t slip away


In Virginia, Hardly A Leaf Gone Red

as ice blasts, cold

reels up the ropes of

summer. No hazy

moon this morning.

Leaf scent, cold

wool. Some mornings,

like today, I can’t

read any more bad

news. “Joy,” my

mother’s favorite

perfume on my wrist.

All that remains of

her above earth 



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