Treasure Island

David Lehman

(June 11, 1948 / New York City)

Quotations

  • ''Jargon is the verbal sleight of hand that makes the old hat seem newly fashionable; it gives an air of novelty and specious profundity to ideas that, if stated directly, would seem superficial, stale, frivolous, or false. The line between serious and spurious scholarship is an easy one to blur, with jargon on your side.''
    David Lehman (b. 1948), U.S. poet, editor, critic. "Archie Debunking," ch. 3, Signs of the Times (1991).
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  • ''Obscurantism is the academic theorist's revenge on society for having consigned him or her to relative obscurity—a way of proclaiming one's superiority in the face of one's diminished influence.''
    David Lehman (b. 1948), U.S. poet, editor, critic. "Archie Debunking," ch. 3, Signs of the Times (1991).
  • ''There is an air of last things, a brooding sense of impending annihilation, about so much deconstructive activity, in so many of its guises; it is not merely postmodernist but preapocalyptic.''
    David Lehman (b. 1948), U.S. poet, editor, critic. "The End of the Word," ch. 1, Signs of the Times (1991).
  • ''Words can have no single fixed meaning. Like wayward electrons, they can spin away from their initial orbit and enter a wider magnetic field. No one owns them or has a proprietary right to dictate how they will be used.''
    David Lehman (b. 1948), U.S. poet, editor, critic. "The End of the Word," ch. 1, Signs of the Times (1991).

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May 8

700 francs will get you $109.91
on this muggy May afternoon
which is good to know since
I just found 700 francs in my wallet
while Dinah Washington was singing
"My Old Flame" I was thinking of where
I was with Glen when Allen Ginsberg died
and if I could relax for one hour
if I knew what that felt like

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