Naomi Replansky

of New York, New York

Winner of the William Carlos Williams Award in 2013

About Not Writing

Tongue-tied, I stand before
Myself as inquisitor.

I loved to mark time
With a beat, with rhyme.

Time marked me with its thumb,
Slowed down the pendulum.

Slowed it down or stopped:
Words were lopped, words dropped—

No use to devise
Reasons or alibis.

Now, strangely, I draw breath
Well past my ninetieth.

What's begun is almost done,
Still I must brood upon

The much that I sought,
The little that I wrought,

Till Time brings its own
Lockjaw of stone.


B. H. Fairchild on Naomi Replansky

In a poem from 2011, Naomi Replansky confesses, "I loved to mark time/ with a beat, with rhyme." Ezra Pound noted that poetry severed from music atrophies, and since the earliest poems of her first book, Ring Song, in 1952, Replansky has become the master of a Blakean music radically unfashionable in its devotion to song-like meters and the reality and politics of working-class experience.  For those of us who came upon her poems half a century ago, the appearance of Replansky's Collected Poems is cause for celebration and, as an expression of deep gratitude and woefully belated recognition, the conferring of the William Carlos Williams Award.

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