poem index

About this poet

Lynn Emanuel was born in Mt. Kisco, New York, on March 14, 1949. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa, an MA from City College of New York, and a BA from Bennington College.

Her books of poetry include: Noose and Hook (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010); Then, Suddenly— (1999), which was awarded the Eric Matthieu King Award from the Academy of American Poets; The Dig (1992), which was selected by Gerald Stern for the National Poetry Series; and Hotel Fiesta (1984).

Her work has been featured in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and Best American Poetry numerous times and is included in The Oxford Book of American Poetry. She has been a judge for the National Book Awards and has received two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Emanuel has taught at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, The Warren Wilson Program in Creative Writing, and the Vermont College Creative Writing Program. She is currently a Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dream In Which I Meet Myself

Lynn Emanuel, 1949
Even the butter's a block of sleazy light. I see that first,
as though I am a dreary guest come to a dreary supper.
On her table, its scrubbed deal trim and lonely as a cot,
is food for one, and everything we've ever hated: a plate of pallid
grays and whites is succotash and chops are those dark shapes glaring up at us.
Are you going to eat this? I want to ask; she's at the stove dishing up,
wearing that apron black and stiff as burned bacon, reserved for maids and waitresses.
The dream tells us: She is still a servant. Even here.
So she has to clean our plate. It's horrible to watch.
She pokes the bits of stuff into her mouth. The roll's glued shut like a little box
with all that sticky butter. Is this all living gets you? The room, a gun stuck in your back?
Don't move, It says. She's at the bureau lining up bobby pins.
Worried and fed up I wander to the window
with its strict bang of blind. My eyes fidget and scratch.
And then I see myself: I am this dream's dog. I want out.

From Noose and Hook, published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2011 by Lynn Emanuel. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Lynn Emanuel

Lynn Emanuel

Born in Mt. Kisco, New York, in 1949, Lynn Emanuel is the author of several books of poetry

by this poet

poem
It's early morning. This is the "before,"
the world hanging around in its wrapper,
blowzy, frumpy, doing nothing: my 
neighbors, hitching themselves to the roles
of the unhappily married, trundle their three
mastiffs down the street. I am writing this
book of poems. My name is Lynn Emanuel.
I am wearing a
poem
If I could see nothing but the smoke
From the tip of his cigar, I would know everything
About the years before the war.
If his face were halved by shadow I would know
This was a street where an EATS sign trembled
And a Greek served coffee black as a dog's eye.
If I could see nothing but his wrist I would know
poem
I strolled through the neighborhood of beautiful houses
All of which I had written

Down the long dark street
Past the cemetery

Where all the tombstones
Had my small white face.

Over my shoulder burned the lamp
Of the moon.

The pages, in the wind, flew, were fluffed and ruffled
Like water by stones into a