Summer 1979 • Vol. I No. 3 Poetry |

Scripts for the Pageant: The First Five Lessons

Anyone who chooses may make his own Ouija board. Draw on a large smooth surface an arc of capital letters A to Z; below these, the ten Arabic numerals; above, in either corner, the words YES and NO. The half-moon between alphabet and numbers can be filled to order. We made do for years with a lonely ampersand before adding our basic punctuation marks. The two mediums sit so that each may comfortably keep a hand on the pointer. The one whose left hand is thus engaged may with his right transcribe the messages. Our pointer was from the start an overturned teacup which glided about "like a thing possessed," indicating with its handle the desired symbol. From all this has come a poem in three books. The first—"The Book of Ephraim" in Divine Comedies (1976)—was arranged in 26 sections, each beginning with a successive letter of the alphabet. Its sequel—Mirabell: Books of Number (1978)—contains ten sections from 0 to 9, with ten subsections apiece. There remained YES and NO, a

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In the Summer of 1947, James Merrill had just graduated from Amherst College, but he had already published his first book of poems, The Black Swan, which won the prestigious Glascock Prize for Poetry awarded by Mount Holyoke College. In April, he published four poems in Poetry Magazine, followed quickly by this first appearance in KR.

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Anyone who chooses may make his own Ouija board. Draw on a large smooth surface an arc of capital letters A to Z; below these, the ten Arabic numerals; above, […]

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Anyone who chooses may make his own Ouija board. Draw on a large smooth surface an arc of capital letters A to Z; below these, the ten Arabic numerals; above, […]

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