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This review is taken from PN Review 135, Volume 27 Number 1, September - October 2000.

DAY BY DAY DAVID LEHMANN, The Daily Mirror (Scribner Poetry) $16.00
MARILYN HACKER, Squares and Courtyards (W.W. Norton) £14.95

David Lehmann's new collection records an experiment begun in January 1996 to write a poem a day. He tells us in the introduction that 'writing a poem began to seem as natural as taking a walk' and adds 'The example of O'Hara meant the most to me'. He concludes that 'It can't be a coincidence that as I was writing these poems, I was concurrently working on my book about the New York School of poets, The Last Avant- Garde.' Lehmann was not 'working concurrently' and it's almost as if the position of the adverb performs the influence of O'Hara and The Daily Mirror's assumption that poetry is not work but a part of life. The Daily Mirror collects 150 poems from Lehmann's experiment, all roughly a page in length and each titled with the date of their composition. The book's title comes from a defunct New York tabloid and Lehmann tells us that he 'liked the idea that a book of poems could call to mind [ ... ] a newspaper to be read by an impatient straphanger'. I did actually read this book on a two hour train journey and it passed the time very pleasantly indeed. Some of the poems are very funny. I particularly liked 'October 16' which imagines a conversation with Nixon; 'January 16' which imagines having a bit part 'in the pilot / of a new sitcom called Blizzard / on the Weather Channel'; and 'August 6' in which Lehmann imagines writing
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