The Columbia Review printed this work by Tory Dent while she was studying at Barnard College. She later published three volumes of poetry and received numerous awards and honors, such as the James Laughlin Award in 1999 for HIV, Mon Amour, which described her struggle with the disease. Dent passed away in 2005.
by Tory Dent
This is your debut
if you are dressed right
When vacationing on palm islands
one usually finds another
I hope you are making cheer-
I know that being of good cheer
is hardly possible
for most of us wits,
but the only thing to do
is contrive it.
False pretensions and vanity
have the redeeming virtues
of something approaching credibility,
and if you can fool yourself
you’re on the right path.
He leans back in black tie
on the chaise longue outside—
“some people show evil
as a great racehorse shows breeding.”
qui a une personnalité distingue
choisit de faire ce qu’il veut faire.
Il chassera dans les champs
de la campagne—
ses yeux peuvent percer l’obscurité.
“This is what sentimentality can lead to;
one should leave moments alone.”
from Vol. 58 (1978)