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At The Foot At The Belt Of The Raincoat

“Alice Notley has become one of America’s greatest living poets. She has long written in narrative and epic and genre-bending modes to discover new ways to explore the nature of the self and the social and cultural importance of disobedience. The artist Rudy Burckhardt once wrote that Notley may be “our present-day Homer.”

In February, I met Alice Notley at a cafe near where she lives in Paris to talk about making a book with Fivehundred places. She was about to tour America reading in support of her book “For the Ride” a tour truncated by the universal collective situation of Covid. She managed to return to Paris in April. Our conversation from the start was to publish something that was written in the past but never published. “At the Foot At the Belt of the Raincoat” was written in 1979 in New York,Notley told me in the summer that it was a poem that Eileen Myles has asked about from time to time since Alice read it at the Poetry project in the 70’s. I asked Eileen what their memory of the poem was, and they wrote the following “Alice writes the most romantic poem of all time, everyone thinks it’s about them and bodies floating through walls and everything that you dreamed actually did happen in a painting or a whispered dark, articles of clothing transmit, people are born and die passionately, nothing forgets, everything is lost, in a corner, in a crowded room,whispering, dropping this note, it is so leafy and tragic and direct.” — David Wallace for the New Yorker