Tag Archives: Jenna Le

Jenna Le

How Not to Be Wrong

How not to be wrong?
Never breathe a word.

 

The lover,
the optimist
never breathe a word.

 

The dolphin,
the pilgrim hawk
never breathe a word.

 

White heat,
red shift
never breathe a word.

 

Faces in the water
never breathe a word.

 

Poets in a landscape
never breathe a word.

 

Buddhist scriptures
never breathe a word.

 

Winter stars
never breathe a word.

 

Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire
never breathe a word.

 

On being blue,
never breathe a word.

 


Source & Method

These are “book spine poems”: poems where each line is the title of a book, constructed by stacking books so that the poem can be read off their spines in order from top to bottom. Book titles used: How Not to Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg (2014), Never Breathe a Word by Caroline Blackwood (2010), The Lover by Marguerite Duras (1984), The Optimist by Joshua Mehigan (2004), The Dolphin by Robert Lowell (1973), The Pilgrim Hawk by Glenway Wescott (1940), White Heat by Brenda Wineapple (2008), Red Shift by Alan Garner (1973), Faces in the Water by Janet Frame (1961), Poets in a Landscape by Gilbert Highet (1957), Buddhist Scriptures ed. by Edward Conze (1959), Winter Stars by Larry Levis (1985), Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire by Fodor’s Travel Publications Inc. (1991), and On Being Blue by William H. Gass (1975)

 


Jenna Le (jennalewriting.com) is the author of Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011) and A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2017), an Elgin Awards Second Place winner. Her poetry appears in AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Verse Daily, and West Branch.