Thirteen Footnotes in Search of a Poem

by Matthew Sisson

1 A reference to his first love affair.

2 Its tragic sensibility co-opted forever, it is now a part of television comedy lore and legend.

3 Another use of his iconic cedar hedge, perennially surrounded by blooming African-lilies, Goat’s beards, Bee balms and Four-o’clocks.

4A Yiddish word meaning “lost person” or “fool.” Similar to putz or shmuck, but without the sexual/genital innuendo.

5 Thrift, thrift Horatio! the funeral baked meats / Did coldly furnish forth the wedding tables. His favorite lines from “Hamlet,” he often remarked how “contemporary” they sounded.

6 30 Pounds Sterling, and too, a reference to Judas’s 30 pieces of silver.

7 See Michael Ostroff and Lawrence Trachtenberg, Umvelt, Mitvelt, and Eigenvelt, The Journal of Cultural Phenomenology, Vol. 12, July, (1988) 12–43. The issue is addressed again by Ronald Housman in his insightful piece: “Yehuda Amichai,” Tanach: A Journal of Ideas 31 (1996) 53–85

8 The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert. Casablanca, dir. Michael Curtiz, writ. J. Epstein, P. Epstein, H Koch, C. Robinson (uncredited), perf. Claude Rains, DVD, Warner Brothers, 1942

9 For a brilliant exegesis of this most central theme in his work see: Dr. Marjorie Saunders, “Mimesis and Family Myth,” Poetry, Image, and Id, Lon Berk Ed., Washington Universe Press, St. Louis, 1976 204–310

10 IBID. Editor’s Introduction 4–10

11 Clearly, the poetry of this his last period, (after 1970), shows little of his famous / infamous self-abnegation.

12 cf. Funeral baked meats

13 “Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,” thought Alice; “but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!” Author Unknown.

Published on June 7, 2010