James Sherwood

For Pauline 


“Thank you for your inspired work”


Reads the light looping pencil script on the final pages

of a dusty paper about a poem, graphic novel, or composition theory.


It was always thus: effusive praise

or tactical praise: “I look forward to reading a revision.”


A gentle but insistent urging

to be your best self in academia and elsewhere.


Slight elven silhouette—

a slash of red lipstick

gliding from desk to desk—


stature in inverse proportion to presence,

her humility belied her accomplishments.


Say First-year student not Freshman

Say folks or people, not guys


Don’t use the singular proximal demonstrative pronoun “this”

when you can simply name the this “this” refers to.


Submit your poetry.


Go get your PhD.


Don’t be afraid to end a sentence.









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Shawangunk Review Volume XXXII Copyright © 2021 by James Sherwood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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