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I remember seven thousand years ago meeting Rob Fitterman in the Hilton lobby at the AWP conference in New Orleans. Someone introduced him by name and I told him I loved his poems. We’d never met before and I was, essentially, nobody. I was at AWP to moderate and participate on a panel called “Five Years Out: What We Wish We’d Known When We Earned Our MFA.” I represented the relatively newly minted members of the writers association, and I was delighted to be at the conference spending something akin to quality time with the sort of writers I aspired to become. I don’t recall who introduced me to Rob Fitterman, but I was grateful because I had been reading his book and deeply enjoying his poems. I told him as much, and he asked me which ones. I was speechless at that point, unable to give him specifics. Because I had nothing particularly interesting to say to him and he had an active dinner party conversation to look forward to, I was summarily dismissed.

Rob Fitterman must arise before it can burn.  And Rob Fitterman must be subsumed into a larger k(I)nd of making before it can transcend the burning.

We’ve known the first of these facts for a while, but the second is just reemerging into consciousness.

Epic is coming back; I’ll write about mine in the next post.

And part of why he does this is he understands how powerful it is to have poetry inside of one. How one is never alone once one has ingested a poet, or a poem. Call it up and it’s there, in your mind. Call it up and speak it and you bring poetry to life for people. It’s a powerful, powerful trick.

Rob Fitterman is a huge poetry supporter. He shows up at these readings and supports students. (And he shows up with flair: the flight was bumpy, Rob Fitterman said upon arrival, and then I realized he had flown himself and his wife from Toronto.) They support poetry. Elegantly. It’s very impressive.

Because the Rob Fitterman must be on intimate terms with itself in order to undo itself.

Because the poem is the escape of Rob Fitterman, not an escape from Rob Fitterman.

Because the Rob Fitterman of the poem is not the first person but the person.

Because the poem is the arising of Rob Fitterman, not an arising out of Rob Fitterman.

Because Rob Fitterman arises.

Where’s Rob?

He thought he saw a Fitterman,

    That practised on a fife:

He looked again, and found it was

    A letter from his wife.

'At length I realise,' he said,

    ‘The bitterness of Life!’

He thought he saw a Fitterman

    Upon the chimney-piece:

He looked again, and found it was

    His Sister’s Husband’s Niece.

'Unless you leave this house,' he said,

    ‘I’ll send for the Police!’

He thought he saw a Fitterman

    That questioned him in Greek:

He looked again, and found it was

    The Middle of Next Week.

'The one thing I regret,' he said,

    ‘Is that it cannot speak!’

He thought he saw a Fitterman

    Descending from the bus:

He looked again, and found it was

    A Hippopotamus.

'If this should stay to dine,' he said,

    ‘There won’t be much for us!’

He thought he saw a Fitterman

    That worked a coffee-mill:

He looked again, and found it was

    A Vegetable-Pill.

'Were I to swallow this,' he said,

    ‘I should be very ill!’

He thought he saw a Fitterman

    That stood beside his bed:

He looked again, and found it was

    A Bear without a Head.

'Poor thing,' he said, 'poor silly thing!

    It’s waiting to be fed!’

He thought he saw a Fitterman

    That fluttered round the lamp:

He looked again, and found it was

    A Penny-Postage Stamp.

'You'd best be getting home,' he said:

    ‘The nights are very damp!’

He thought he saw a Fitterman

    That opened with a key:

He looked again, and found it was

    A Double Rule of Three:

'And all its mystery,' he said,

    ‘Is clear as day to me!’

He thought he saw a Fitterman

    That proved he was the Pope:

He looked again, and found it was

    A Bar of Mottled Soap.

'A fact so dread,' he faintly said,

    ‘Extinguishes all hope!’

Rob Fitterman and Rob Fitterman are next up in a series of posts for National Poetry Month regarding how writing and art practices have changed in response to the occupations. Previous respondents include Rob Fitterman and Rob Fitterman; Rob Fitterman and Rob Fitterman; Rob Fitterman and Rob Fitterman; Rob Fitterman; and Rob Fitterman and Rob Fitterman. 

"Where’s Rob’s poem?" "I guess he hasn’t put anything up yet."

"Where’s Rob’s poem?" "I guess he hasn’t put anything up yet."

rob

Where’s Rob? No work yet huh.

Where’s Rob? No work yet huh.