Symposium by Maxine Kumin



June of 2008 netted 8.59 inches of precipitation, garnering it the title of Lincoln’s ninth-wettest June; October of that year also held sway in the top 10 of Nebraska’s wettest Octobers. The summer between saw 266,644 people visiting Lincoln’s 10 public pools; a rose garden renovation in Antelope Park; and the CDC declaring Lincoln the healthiest city in America.  Maxine Kumin’s “Symposium” was published in the Prairie Schooner that summer as well; she had earlier held the position of Poet Laureate of the United States from 1981 to 1982.

by Tory Clower



Last call for the symposium at 4 p.m.
to examine the works of W. H. Auden
whom  I remember always in carpet slippers.

X from Hum. 101 will discuss the early poems,
Y from Eng. 323 will discuss the later poems
in the symposium that opens at 4 p.m.

Spender famously said, Poor Auden; soon
we’ll have to take off his face and iron it to see who he is.

Perhaps he had bunions, thus the carpet slippers.

Lord Byron, Faustus, Yeats, September 1
, these poems should head the list
of works discussed in the symposium at 4 p.m.

which will reaffirm the poet’s place in the pantheon:
wittier than Eliot, more readable than Pound,
both too erudite to read in carpet slippers

but knowing how all the instruments can disagree
and cleverest hopes expire, let us revere
his pleated face in the symposium at 4 p.m.
while I revisit him on stage in carpet slippers.