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About this poet

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 16, 1943, Philip Lopate received a bachelor's degree at Columbia University and a PhD at Union Graduate School.

His most recent book of poetry, At the End of the Day (Marsh Hawk Press, 2010) brings together the majority of his poems, most of which were written during the early years of his career as a writer. His other books of poetry include The Daily Round (Sun, 1976) and The Eyes Don't Always Want to Stay Open (Sun, 1972).

He is also the author of numerous essay collections, including: Portrait Inside My Head (Free Press, 2013); To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction (Free Press, 2013); Notes on Sontag (Princeton University Press, 2009); Getting Personal: Selected Writings (Basic Books, 2003); and Portrait of My Body (Anchor, 1996), which was a finalist for the PEN Spielvogel-Diamonston Award. He has also written the novels Two Marriages (Other Press, 2008) and The Rug Merchant (Penguin Books, 1987).

Of his work, the poet Marie Ponsot writes, “The pleasures of Lopate’s poems are urban and urbane. He takes notice, he reports, he has a heart. And more: he stirs in us literature’s ungovernable alchemic hope, as his truth-saying transforms his anecdotes, and precipitates poems.”

Among his many awards are grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Public Library, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Before holding the John Cranford Adams Chair at Hofstra University, Lopate taught at Fordham, the University of Houston, and New York University, and Bennington College. He currently lives in New York City, where he is the director of the nonfiction graduate program at Columbia University.




Selected Bibliography

Poetry

At the End of the Day (Marsh Hawk Press, 2010)
The Daily Round (Sun, 1976)
The Eyes Don't Always Want to Stay Open (Sun, 1972)

Prose

Portrait Inside My Head (Free Press, 2013)
To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction (Free Press, 2013)
Notes on Sontag (Princeton University Press, 2009)
Getting Personal: Selected Writings (Basic Books, 2003)
Portrait of My Body (Anchor Books, 1996)

Fiction

Two Marriages (Other Press, 2008)
Confessions of Summer (Doubleday, 1995)
The Rug Merchant (Penguin Books, 1988)
 

Allende

Phillip Lopate, 1943
In 200 years they won't remember me, Salvador
And they won't remember you, so let's skip the part about
He will live with us forever.
You may get a footnote for being the only Marxist
To gain power in Latin America via parliamentary means;
And the only sucker not to throw his enemies in jail.
You knew the power of the large land-owners, ITT,
The Army, U.S. Anaconda, the small frightened businessmen
Easily manipulated, the shop-owners who could go either way
And yet you didn't lift a finger to silence them.
You continued to defend the bicameral system of government
Until they bombed your palace and you shot yourself in the mouth.
Answer me this,
Now that you are a bunch of hairs on a blood-stained sofa:
I want to know why you killed yourself.
Because this was a very un-Marxist thing to do.
Because neither was this the way of a gradualist
With short graying hair and glasses,
     and a face like a prominent surgeon's,
Who, knowing this would happen, could have easily arranged for
The secret tunnel, the private plane, the unmarked car
In which you, huddled in grandmotherly wig, might begin
To write your memoirs. Was it too horrible to think of
Speaking at New York rallies to pockets of émigrés,
Forming shadow cabinets, and lunching with Juan Bosch
Or Andreas Papandreou, swapping stories over wine about
Where you were when the shit hit the fan?
I'm being vulgar, forgive me.
I would rather believe in your doggish retreat
Than the flamboyance of today's headlines which gloat:
MARXIST REPORTED TO TAKE HIS LIFE.
Even they are a little unsure. They leave room
     for the graduate students
Of the left, working in the carrels of libraries
For 100 years to discover the link,
The way it all fits together: Lumumba, King, Kennedy,
     Allende, CIA.

And it may turn out that my government actually murdered you
But what's the good of knowing that?
We know too many connections already, and they only satisfy
The pedantic urge that makes the world a crossword puzzle.
Salvador, I'm sorry, I don't know what to say any more.
Take back the bullet, it was a mistake, it redeems nothing.

Today I look at the faces of passers-by and I think:
It figures. The banks have the money to buy counter-
revolution,
This wino has no money. He's nice enough, so is
That girl in the flamingo summer dress on wobbly heels.
It's September 12, possibly the prettiest day of the year.
The blue has never been so pure around the chimneys—
"Almost like—a cartoon!" says the dental hygienist,
Grasping for a metaphor. I never said it even to myself,
Before today, but just between you and me,
And I don't want anyone else to hear: Senor.
It looks as if they have got us by the balls.
These faces in the street, how can they take power?
How can they rule?

From At the End of the Day: Selected Poems and an Introductory Essay, copyright © 2009 by Phillip Lopate. Used by permission of Marsh Hawk Press.

From At the End of the Day: Selected Poems and an Introductory Essay, copyright © 2009 by Phillip Lopate. Used by permission of Marsh Hawk Press.

Phillip Lopate

Phillip Lopate

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1943, Philip Lopate received a Bachelor's

by this poet

poem
I have not felt a thing for weeks.
But getting up and going to work on time
I did what needed to be done, then rushed home.
And even the main streets, those ancient charmers,
Failed to amuse me, and the fight between
The upstairs couple was nothing but loud noise.
None of it touched me, except as an irritation,
poem
to Carol
1.

Our room, says the lady of the house
is nicer than one in a motel
                              and she's right
second-storey bay windows
a mushy double bed T.V.
and sportsman and gun magazines

2.

We'll take it
But not the meal plan.

3.

It
poem
You are not me, and I am never you
except for thirty seconds in a year
when ecstasy of coming,
laughing at the same time
or being cruel to know for certain
what the other's feeling
charge some recognition.

Not often when we talk though.
Undressing to the daily logs
of this petty boss, that compliment,
curling