In this Book

In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus
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For more than half a century, readers and listeners have taken special pleasure in the poetry of X. J. Kennedy. In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus is an ample gathering of his best work: memorable songs, startling lyrics, poems that tell poignant stories, character studies that vie with those of Edwin Arlington Robinson. A master of verbal music, Kennedy has long been praised for his wit and humor; as this collection reveals, many of his poems also reach surprising depths and heights. Donald Hall comments, "many of Kennedy's poems are wit itself. His wit is his way of understanding. No one else writing is capable of the effects in which Kennedy specializes." This book skims the cream from several slim volumes and six past collections including the prize-winning Nude Descending a Staircase, Cross Ties, and The Lords of Misrule. It restores to print over fifty poems unavailable for decades and adds more than two dozen new poems collected for the first time. Kennedy has long occupied a unique place in American poetry; In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus now offers the first comprehensive collection to span his entire career.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-xiv
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  1. Nude Descending a Staircase (1961)
  2. p. 1
  1. First Confession
  2. p. 3
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  1. Solitary Confinement
  2. p. 4
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  1. On a Child Who Lived One Minute
  2. p. 5
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  1. Faces from a Bestiary
  2. p. 6
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  1. Nude Descending a Staircase
  2. p. 7
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  1. The Autumn in Norfolk Shipyard
  2. p. 8
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  1. Warning to Sculptors
  2. p. 9
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  1. Lewis Carroll
  2. p. 10
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  1. In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus One Day
  2. pp. 11-12
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  1. Barking Dog Blues
  2. p. 13
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  1. Inscriptions after Fact
  2. pp. 14-18
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  1. At the Stoplight by the Paupers’ Graves
  2. p. 19
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  1. Little Elegy
  2. p. 20
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  1. Ladies Looking for Lice
  2. p. 21
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  1. B Negative
  2. pp. 22-24
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  1. At the Ghostwriter’s Deathbed
  2. p. 25
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  1. Rondel
  2. p. 26
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  1. One A.M. with Voices
  2. pp. 27-28
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  1. Growing into Love (1969)
  2. p. 29
  1. Cross Ties
  2. p. 31
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  1. Poets
  2. p. 32
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  1. Nothing in Heaven Functions As It Ought
  2. p. 33
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  1. Creation Morning
  2. p. 34
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  1. Traveler’s Warnings
  2. pp. 35-38
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  1. Reading Trip
  2. pp. 39-42
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  1. Requiem in Hoboken
  2. p. 43
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  1. For a Maiden Lady
  2. p. 44
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  1. Pottery Class
  2. p. 45
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  1. Absentminded Bartender
  2. p. 46
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  1. Loose Woman
  2. p. 47
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  1. Ant Trap
  2. pp. 48-49
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  1. West Somerville, Mass.
  2. pp. 50-54
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  1. Ode
  2. p. 55
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  1. Two Apparitions
  2. p. 56
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  1. Artificer
  2. p. 57
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  1. Daughter in the House
  2. p. 58
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  1. The Shorter View
  2. p. 59
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  1. Giving in to You
  2. p. 60
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  1. Slim Volumes
  2. p. 61
  1. Song: Great Chain of Being
  2. pp. 63-64
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  1. Consumer’s Report
  2. p. 65
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  1. The Atheist’s Stigmata
  2. p. 66
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  1. In a Secret Field
  2. p. 67
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  1. Mining Town
  2. p. 68
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  1. Schizophrenic Girl
  2. p. 69
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  1. Evening Tide
  2. p. 70
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  1. A Little Night Music
  2. p. 71
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  1. Celebrations After the Death of John Brennan (1974)
  2. pp. 72-75
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  1. Talking Dust Bowl Blues
  2. p. 76
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  1. Song to the Tune of “Somebody Stole My Gal”
  2. pp. 77-78
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  1. Cross Ties: Selected Poems (1985)
  2. p. 79
  1. In a Dry Season
  2. p. 81
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  1. A Footpath Near Gethsemane
  2. p. 82
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  1. Dirty English Potatoes
  2. p. 83
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  1. Goblet
  2. p. 84
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  1. Aunt Rectita’s Good Friday
  2. p. 85
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  1. Hangover Mass
  2. p. 86
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  1. One-night Homecoming
  2. p. 87
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  1. October
  2. p. 88
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  1. Joshua
  2. p. 89
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  1. Old Men Pitching Horseshoes
  2. p. 90
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  1. To Dorothy on Her Exclusion from The Guinness Book of World Records
  2. p. 91
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  1. At the Last Rites for Two Hotrodders
  2. p. 92
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  1. Flitting Flies
  2. pp. 93-94
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  1. The Death of Professor Backwards
  2. p. 95
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  1. At Brown Crane Pavilion
  2. p. 96
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  1. On the Proposed Seizure of Twelve Graves in a Colonial Cemetery
  2. pp. 97-98
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  1. A Beardsley Moment
  2. pp. 99-100
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  1. Dark Horses (1992)
  2. p. 101
  1. The Arm
  2. p. 103
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  1. Twelve Dead, Hundreds Homeless
  2. p. 104
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  1. The Waterbury Cross
  2. p. 105
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  1. Veterinarian
  2. p. 106
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  1. The Animals You Eat
  2. p. 107
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  1. Snug
  2. p. 108
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  1. Overnight Pass
  2. p. 109
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  1. Two from Guillaume Apollinaire
  2. pp. 110-111
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  1. To the Writers Forbidden to Write
  2. p. 112
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  1. Terse Elegy for J. V. Cunningham
  2. p. 113
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  1. On Being Accused of Wit
  2. p. 114
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  1. Emily Dickinson Leaves a Message to the World Now that Her Homestead in Amherst Has an Answering Machine
  2. p. 115
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  1. The Withdrawn Gift
  2. p. 116
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  1. On the Square
  2. pp. 117-118
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  1. Dump
  2. pp. 119-120
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  1. Summer Children
  2. p. 121
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  1. Tableau Intime
  2. p. 122
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  1. Finis
  2. p. 123
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  1. Black Velvet Art
  2. p. 124
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  1. The Lords of Misrule (2002)
  2. p. 125
  1. “The Purpose of Time Is to Prevent Everything from Happening at Once”
  2. p. 127
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  1. Jimmy Harlow
  2. p. 128
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  1. Naomi Trimmer
  2. pp. 129-130
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  1. Five-and-Dime, Late Thirties
  2. pp. 131-132
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  1. Sailors with the Clap
  2. p. 133
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  1. For Allen Ginsberg
  2. p. 134
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  1. Thebes: In the Robber Village
  2. p. 135
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  1. Close Call
  2. p. 136
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  1. Street Moths
  2. p. 137
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  1. Décor
  2. p. 138
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  1. The Ballad of Fenimore Woolson and Henry James
  2. pp. 139-144
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  1. A Scandal in the Suburbs
  2. p. 145
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  1. To His Lover, That She Be Not Overdressed
  2. p. 146
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  1. The Blessing of the Bikes
  2. pp. 147-148
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  1. Sharing the Score
  2. p. 149
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  1. A Curse on a Thief
  2. p. 150
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  1. Pie
  2. p. 151
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  1. Shriveled Meditation
  2. p. 152
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  1. Meditation in the Bedroom of General Francisco Franco
  2. p. 153
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  1. Maples in January
  2. p. 154
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  1. September Twelfth, 2001
  2. pp. 155-156
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  1. New Poems
  2. p. 157
  1. Panic in the Carwash
  2. p. 159
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  1. At Paestum
  2. p. 160
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  1. Rites
  2. p. 161
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  1. Small House Torn Down To Build a Larger
  2. p. 162
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  1. Uncertain Burial
  2. p. 163
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  1. Innocent Times
  2. p. 164
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  1. Epiphany
  2. p. 165
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  1. Furnished Rental
  2. p. 166
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  1. Brotherhood
  2. p. 167
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  1. Death of a Window Washer
  2. p. 168
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  1. Pacifier
  2. p. 169
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  1. Geometry
  2. p. 170
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  1. Silent Cell Phones
  2. p. 171
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  1. Fireflies
  2. p. 172
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  1. Mrs. Filbert’s Golden Quarters
  2. p. 173
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  1. Jerry Christmas
  2. pp. 174-175
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  1. Poor People in Church
  2. pp. 176-177
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  1. Sonnet Beginning with a Line and a Half Abandoned by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  2. p. 178
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  1. God’s Obsequies
  2. pp. 179-180
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  1. Storehouse
  2. p. 181
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  1. At the Antiques Fair
  2. p. 182
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  1. Secret River
  2. p. 183
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  1. Command Decision
  2. p. 184
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  1. Bald Eagle
  2. pp. 185-186
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  1. Meeting a Friend Again After Thirty Years
  2. p. 187
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  1. Finding a Tintype
  2. p. 188
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  1. Out of Tune with the Stars
  2. pp. 189-190
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  1. Envoi
  2. pp. 191-192
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 193-196
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  1. Index of Titles and First Lines
  2. pp. 197-206
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  1. Credits
  2. pp. 207-208
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  1. Poetry Titles in the Series
  2. p. 209
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