XX Elegies

By C.E. Putnam
Price: $16.00

XX Elegies is a broken-lyric re-versioning of John Donne’s Elegies, Donne’s fabulously strange and disturbed poem series of sex and death, longing and loss. It is presented here for the first time with Donne’s original text and includes letters of correspondence between the two authors regarding their collaboration.

XX Elegies - Cover Spread

XX Elegies - Cover Spread

5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm) | Black & White on Cream paper | 182 pages | Publication Date: September 22, 2012



I will go to branches
without growing
all summer
painting the hill
journey and descent
this natural motion
leaves you going
down on yourself
everyday daywear
cradles then entombs.


The goats clothe me
in extreme hat feathers
and green-felted
all these heads of mine
wear out their given names
the resurrectionalist revival
at the all souls retreat and cookout
go back to the tooth worn
thin alive with nerves
rather holes are our mouths
in the body’s shade light
seeks the eye’s purse slack
faces winter violet
the shortest day coming soon
composing one in fifty
things I’ve spent ages with
you younger or you are as large
as the stone age where the trees
were Paleolithic in love.


Strange X-RAYS
put the past
in stone for us
proof of a hand
touching another
hand a leaf
left and kept in a rock
face appetites taste
us brittle when our season
comes when June blood
ripens the wine when September
fixes listeners to the words
your volumes of night
noon early evening song
a tomb building a grave.


To wrinkle these wishes
asking for more sun
when there is no more
sun you are flaming
and now golden
when our names were first
our names I would have taken
your affections in the grass
rock upon rock shame
pressed into shame.

23 JUNE 1997