Ira Sadoff

Poem in the Old Style
September 4, 2012 Sadoff Ira

Poem in the Old Style


At the beginning of the play Hecuba was mourning her great losses. She made lists, blamed the Gods: they could always find someone to wound. Finally she had to blind somebody: that somebody was me. At least I spent many years in the dark trying to figure out what I’d done. I could rummage through the episodes, how I was embroiled in them. Even after years, I had only these warring voices: deranged and diffident.

After all I’d been blinded: that would muzzle anybody’s myth-making. It doesn’t matter if every man has his Hecuba, that every Hecuba has an Odysseus. No one wants to be a minor character, left backstage holding a bouquet long after the lights go out. In fact, after she left the stage she lit a cigarette, recited a few lines to the doorman in the lobby, took a hot shower and dreamt of another city where she could use some of the same words and move them around differently. It takes practice to be a goddess: practice and someone to receive her great gifts.

Ira Sadoff’s the author of seven collections of poetry, most recently TRUE FAITH (BOA Editions, 2012) and the re-issued PALM READING IN WINTER (Carnegie-Mellon). He’s published a novel, UNCOUPLING, THE IRA SADOFF READER, and HISTORY MATTERS (U.of Iowa Press) a critical book on poetry and culture. He’s been widely anthologized and awarded grants from the Guggenheim Fellowship and the NEA. He has new work appearing in THE NEW YORKER, APR, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem a Day Series. He lives in a converted barn in upstate New York.