Lyn Lifshin’s “Allen Ginsberg Gives Me a Rose at Art Park, Just Buffalo, Schuper House, June 8, Near Buffalo”


it wasn’t the first time we met. I’d been

at his place in the East Village with another

writer who refused to believe it

wasn’t safe after dark, insisted we

stroll thru garbage strewn streets at

midnight, not call a cab. Another

time I wish I’d taken a camera or

kept notes, a diary on the places I

read, kept a photo in my head. Those

years it was as if I lived from suitcase to

suitcase, came home only to pack

again. I wrote Glad Day after that trip

or another one like it. I was happy

to be reading with Ginsberg tho I

hardly see myself in the line of the Beats,

never understand why others do. It

was probably a couple of years later,

reading outside in the park. For some

reason I remember standing around for

hours, driftwood colored bleachers.

None of this might be true. I remember

little about the reading: the size of the

audience. It must have been hot. I

know someone brought cold drinks

finally and we all ran toward him. More

than anything I remember Allen Ginsberg

gave me a rose, a beautiful red one,

or was it white? No, it must have been

red because when I carried it thru the air

port gingerly as if I was balancing a

rose of diamonds and glass, everyone

turned and said what a beautiful

and so sweet. Of course it wasn’t the

rose but the Tea Rose perfume I was

wearing. Since the rose came from

Allen Ginsberg I wanted to preserve

it, coated it with dripped candle wax

but it didn’t work so I put it in

plastic, pressed it into the heaviest book

in the house, a folio edition of Shakespeare,

all petals pressed into William’s words

(Editor’s Note: This poem originally appeared in Lyn Lifshin: All the Poets Who Have Touched Me/Desire
Edited by Paul Kareem Tayyar)

Lyn Lifshin’s prizewinning book (Paterson Poetry Award) Before It’s Light was published Winter 1999-2000 by Black Sparrow Press, following their publication of Cold Comfort in 1997. The Licorice Daughter was published in February 2006 and Another Woman who Looks Like Me was published by Black Sparrow-David Godine in October 2006. ( Also books include A New Film About a Woman in Love with the Dead, March Street Press, Marilyn MonroeWhen a Cat DiesAnother Woman’s Story,Barbie Poems, The Daughter I Don’t HaveWhat Matters Most, and Blue Tattoo. Lifshin has won awards for her non-fiction and edited four anthologies of women’s writing includingTangled VinesAriadne’s Thread and Lips Unsealed. Her poems have appeared in most literary and poetry magazines. Her poem “No More Apologizing” has been called “among the most impressive documents of the women’s poetry movement” by Alicia Ostriker. An update to her Gale Research Projects Autobiographical Series, “On the Outside, Lips, Blues, Blue Lace,” was published in Spring, 2003. Texas Review Press published her poems about the famous, short-lived, beautiful race horse, Ruffian: The Licorice Daughter: My Year with Ruffian. New books include MirrorsAugust WindNovemberly and just out spring 2008, 92 Rapple Drive and Desire. She is working on a collection about poets,Poets, (Mostly) Who Have Touched Me, Living and DeadAll True, Especially the Lies will be published by World Parade and Tsunami will come from Blue Heron Press. Other forthcoming books include a book about the courageous and riveting race horse, Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness from Texas Review Press, Nutley Pond from Goose River Press, Lost in the Fog from Finishing Line Press, Persephone from Red Hen. For interviews, more bio material, photographs, reviews, a contact, interviews and samples of her work, browse this website:




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