The Criterion publishes “The New Yorker is publishing my poem!”

The Criterion publishes “The New Yorker is publishing my poem!”

Recently we’ve had some fantastic contributions from George, Jordan, Shadi, Michael, Athesia and Dean. We are, however, a little behind schedule in poetry. Just to gently nudge, here is one published today (with accompanying pictures) in The Criterion: An International Journal in English

Also below are two companions pieces, A Period of Mutually Agreed Upon Reflection (The Criterion, 2015) and “Dick with Glasses” (1990).

At the end, are previous poetic contributions from others.

The New Yorker is publishing my poem!

I who wrote one poem in college thirty years ago,

Walked into a cemetery,

Lit my first cigarette in ten years,

And wrote a poem in my mind.

Lacking pen, I found a Starbucks,

Scrap paper and a black Sharpie.

Within fifteen minutes, finis.


The Brighton Cemetery off Winton Road, June 2015 [selfie]

The images and dreams

Taken from another person.

But who cares?


Then the letter.

To be published in an upcoming issue.

A complete novice.

Absolutely unprecedented and unimaginable.

The luminaries who grace the page

Of The New Yorker!

At the Tom Otterness sculptures on University Ave holding a New Yorker, October 2015

Friends and family for the rest of their lives

To be speechless.

The Department of English

In which I serve as an adjunct

To be dumfounded.


I who never play the lottery,

Won the lottery.


The woman

Whose life I borrowed,

Who left me,

Will come back.


Companion piece (also published in The Criterion)

A Period of Mutually Agreed Upon Reflection 

She has three men to forget now.

Her husband who she left for her lover who she left

To be alone in her dreams.


The one where her father builds a shinto shrine

Of cigarette butts in the ashtray,

Telling her, doesn’t she know he is dying?


The father who pissed beer on her older sister’s bed

Before she was born.

The sister who wished she had danced on her father’s casket.

The one where an intruder carries a knife bloodied as with red barnacles.


The one where her husband is fucking another woman.

The one where her lover has become a mystic on a Caribbean island

Where she goes once watching blue dolphins play in the waves.


The Mystic holding out a sea shell, Summer, 2015 [Photo: André Spenard]

The original poem 30 years before from “The New Yorker is publishing my poem!” With accompanying letter and photo.



Daphne 1-page-0

Page 1 Fall 1989


Page 2, Fall 1989

Niagara Falls August 1989

Niagara Falls, August 1989


Some more poetry from the Mystic. And would love your submissions


Our first submission! “November” by Olivia Spenard, Creative Writing Program, School of the Arts

“In a clinic in Paiwas” — Thomas W. Harris (1925 – 1999)

On the Road. Destination Little Bohemia in the South Wedge.

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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