For David Barber

by David Solway (October 2018)

Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red), Mark Rothko, 1949


This is the way to

Make the old game grand


David Barber, Bambino Sutra


Well, David, I’ve got to give you credit.

You can carry a weighty theme for the long

haul, and swell a minor subject to

unexpected magnitude. I can’t debit

you your talents, the bag of doublets

you pay the Muses with. You deliver

the goods, a poet with a mighty shlong

so the old lumber rings

adept at taming the local Furies by inflaming

desire for apt consummations.

You have earned a nation’s gratitude,

this side of the Atlantic, helping to make

American Poetry Great Again,

a venture most intrepid in these parlous times.

Let the eagle soar again, raise the phoenix

of embered verse from the ash heap.

I envy your gravamen and cannot emulate your prolonged afflatus,

I will study your patience

and contemplate your love of brocaded lingo,

your weirdly purfled sutras and exotic periplus.

Me, I’m just a gringo beagling for rhymes.


David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. His most recent volume of poetry, The Herb Garden, appeared in spring 2018 with Guernica Editions. A partly autobiographical prose manifesto, Reflections on Music, Poetry & Politics, was released by Shomron Press in spring 2016. A CD of his original songs, Blood Guitar and Other Tales, appeared in 2016. Solway’s current projects include work on a second CD, The Book of Love, with his pianist wife Janice Fiamengo and writing for the major American political sites such as PJ Media, American Thinker and WorldNetDaily.

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