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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alice Notley
Alice Notley
Born on November 8, 1945, Alice Notley is the author of many collections of verse and the recipient of the 2007 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize...
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The Present/
by Lisa Robertson
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The Descent of Alette ["Presently"]

 
by Alice Notley

"Presently" "we neared a pale beach," "narrow" "with trees behind it"
"thick & blue-black," "& lights" "many lights" "deep inside the"
"wooded land" "I touched bottom" "& walked ashore" "Then I saw"
"a final entity," "airy image, pass" "out of my body—" "from my

forehead" "A small shape," "perhaps brain-shaped," "that seemed to"
"contain in miniature" "the cave network" "where I had been"
"I saw the rooms—" "the caverns—" "streaked with color," "dotted with
lights," "but all tiny" "as in a honeycomb" "The image" "receded,"

"gently floated" "away" "on the wind," "like a flower" "a hibiscus—"
"all reds & darks" "& yellow glow—" "Or like a lantern," "paper
lantern" "Then was gone." "The others" "other swimmers" "had not
walked ashore" "with me" "I turned to find them" "I thought they

must be" "still floating" "in the water" "But they had vanished,"
"I was alone" "Myself &" "alone" "Yet emptied" "of much, it seemed"
"I felt unburdened" "& even buoyant"






From Book Three of The Descent of Alette by Alice Notley, copyright © 1992 by Alice Notley. Used by peromission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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