Jonathan Galassi

My Courbet, by Jonathan Galassi
February 11, 2013 Galassi Jonathan

My Courbet


for Mac


My Courbet

is 12 by 20–

inches, that

is– yet its


cadmium snow

sets the

mountains far

back so they’re

bold and enormous.

The mysterious

ring-bark trees

in the front

have yellowing

leaves which

means that

it’s fall in

this hidden

sierra. If Luis

Hernandez Rojas,

born in Coyula

San Geronimo,


on August 25,

1978 ever stops

in to visit his

modest chef

d’oeuvre, I hope

he can say how

he managed to

make so much of

so little. Dirty

old Gustave de-

manded whole

walls to ennoble

his neighbors’

hard lives and

gray deaths

lived in the

chill fatal

shadow of lime-

stone. But some-

thing else

unfolds here in

this hidden

valley which

no one I think

has seen (except

Luis and you

and me). The short

sharp grass is

yellow too and

now the thin-

nest clouds are

wafting by in

our little lunar

universe, sunny

for the moment,

quiet, dry.

Jonathan Galassi is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Morning Run and North Street. He has also published translations of the work of the Italian poets Eugenio Montale and Giacomo Leopardi. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he was poetry editor of The Paris Review and currently serves as Honorary Chairman of the Academy of American Poets. He lives in New York City.