92 Rapple Drive
by Lyn Lifshin

$15.95, perfect-bound paperback, published in USA by Coatlism Press; available on, or buy direct from Coatlism Press

Sample Poems


Sample Poems:

late mornings were
a sharp set of
teeth. Cats asleep
under bamboo,
poems curled into
them. Nobody
would call and if
they did, it would
be nothing I looked
forward to



the brocade, not
yet stained,
the wall to wall
white champagne
cats would puke
and shit on,
lovers come, a
drink spill
and never vodka.
But for the moment
I was barefoot
on sand. I was
Columbus, dazed
by the new

I hardly remember which
window December's

moon fell thru
tho last light

hung behind tumble weeds
and one maple tree

Someone said there was
a panther in the rhubarb

and trains sliced
ink nights. How little

I thought more than
had yet happened

would not blur
the longing for what

seemed only ordinary

before anyone in my
life was in my life

not the cat,
the man's fingers,

blackberries tangled
under the blood maple

tangle weed grazed
ankles and trees

If you slept in the
trees, the stars,

a kaleidoscope. When
you couldn't sleep

shapes, moving in
shadows could be

whatever you imagined

night after night
he moved into its

damp leaves, still
as raccoons. He

was starved for the
silk ponds of

sleep. All night he
watched stars, read

Katherine Mansfield's
letters. The night

birds kept him

Wine from a neighbor's porch
sweeten the dark leaves

and when the wind
woke him, his

flash light flickering,
he lit dry balsam

as if to invite
something with teeth

to wait for morning

before then, the house
no cat would stay in long

Othello, escaping,
even Desdemona stalking

what would lure
too long to come back

The New Year's candle
catching fire in the

house before there
were candelabras of

turquoise, blue and
lilac on the table with

rose stains melt,

as nothing else was

when I see the split
nest hang on

I wonder how little
is enough there.

The stone foyer.
the walls painted

over wine stains.
Sand slate and

earth tiles. If
there were children,

they'd have their
own children. The

tulip tree that
hardly grew, towers

the ferns have spread,
the fox long gone,

gone as the man
I brought lasagna to

at night in coffee tines,
shaved my legs up high by morning

before the buttons were
spit from shirts,

and a Chianti, slammed
stained a wall

it would never
not bleed thru.

Afternoons under bamboo,
the champagne rugs

were sand, alone

or better with
a lover, the cats

a drug, a torn
quilt and the words

that grew, all that stayed

Review by Irene Koronas, reviewer

the font used for titling the poems is distraction; too emphatic for this reader, especially, in the morning before my coffee kools. I proceed anyway to the poems which run into each other or so it seems, “imagined I couldn’t go on without her.” “here, with the cat on my feet…” “was it the black starless nights,.” Lyn Lifshin’s 92 Rapple poems are rooted, they grow from rich soil fed and turned regularly. what surprises me is the poems are not about trees or those flowery blouses dotted with pink and lilac. instead Lifshin plants memory and the moment opens; we meet the unabashed poems’ presence, in the presence of their unfolded. “but I was fire, i was adrenalin, flame. I wanted the white wind…” and as the reader
thumbs thru, turns pages, we harvest her white, we breath in and exhale slowly in front of, before her verse, before we are allowed entrance, “the key gulped by crows,” the reader needs to retrieve, settle into, an often “cranky.” Lifshin lets us walk thru concrete passage ways, the subtle play between couplets. those who have read her work before, you’ll find the same genuine voice, that pause encounter, "remember stories of panthers,” pawed rows and rows, spooning words as ordinary, the extraordinary lift, the fresh break or corner of shade.

I don’t want to talk
of the other I passed
in the hall, you know
that story tho it was
not quite that, was
tea in bed and then I
wrote in the kitchen.
what was new
would be stained.
what wasn’t, lost
its sheen. days a
scrim I saw only
what I made up thru,
the moon pink and
if there was a pond,
a deep rose thru the
sand that let go of
everything too

Irene Koronas
Ibbetson Street Press (reviewer)
Poetry Editor
Wilderness House Litery Review

"Her poems in Rolling Stone stayed on my wall longer than anyone's." -- Ken Kesey

"You might as well get used to it: Lifshin is here to stay. For men, she's sexy. For women, she's an archetype of gutsy independence. As a poet, she's nobody but herself. Frightingly prolific and utterly intense. One of a king." -- San Francisco Review of Books

"These poems evoke in fantasy, but with a lot of anthropological detail . . . Lifshin's chipped line takes on a chantlike undertone, as of native voices themselves singing from the beyond." -- New York Times Book Review

"Lyn Lifshin is my hero. I became a writer because of her. The woman must write poetry while she sleeps, she is THAT prolific. Here's what I want readers to know about this brilliant author and this book. She will take you on a different journey with each poem. And don't be urned off by the word poetry. Great poets, and this is one of them, are great storytellers. They just happen to use the poetic form to tell their stories. You will laugh. You will cry. You will climb into bed with her and start to read her poems out loud to your lover. She is THAT GOOD! Lyn Lifshin is the most famous poetic goddess in the world, or she should be. We are all pressed for time. Lyn Lifshin serves us up a sampling of delicious hors doeuvres in 92 Rapple Drive. Her stand-alone poems allow us to devour her work one day at a time, one bite at a time. I read her poetry while brushing my teeth. Give me more, Lyn." —.Mary Kennedy Eastham, Author - The Shadow of A Dog I Can't Forget

Ernest Hemingway famously stated that “I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows.” Lyn Lifshin is a minimalist, slice of life poet in that same long and strong American tradition of spare realism. In Lyn’s poetry, the images do not convey meaning. Rather, the images are the meaning. When she states that “geese / were black ovals / against lightened gray” we do not have to search for a meaning or a symbolic resonance but rather close our eyes and picture the black ovals and the lightened gray. As our earthly encounters with sensual experience have meaning for us, Lyn’s poetic and beautiful images have meaning and speak to that basic human core where we can not help but read the world in sensual symbolic images. — Norman Olson

Review by Alice Pero

In Lyn Lifshin's new collection, 92 Rapple Drive (Coatlism Press, 2008) Lyn Lifshin likes to make the world disappear. For those who hold tightly to their solid, carefully appointed universes, her poems might be a source of irritation as she challenges the very foundations upon which we stand. She, like the best magician, will show you the card, but you cannot notice the sleight of hand as it fades away. We do not know where 92 Rapple Drive is, but within its mysterious walls, whole lives come and go with a whisper and a wisp of wind. Those of us who have read much Lifshin recognize the characters: the woman pretending to be a wife, the mysterious email lover, the spurned lover, the dying mother, the cats. Yet these characters seem almost incidental to the disappearing act. The stage is set in the first poem, before anyone in my/life was in my life/not the cat,/the man s fingers,/blackberries tangled/under blood maple/tangle weed grazed/ankles and trees.... The poem has occurred before the poem was written. We go into an alternate time/space. It ends, shapes, moving in/shadows could be/whatever you imagined. The poems can be violent; a wine bottle is thrown, blood is spilt, a pregnant woman is murdered, yet still the blows are softened by this shape-shifting out of reality , by making things not enough or not remembered or put before or after time. A series of blues poems, starting with The Bad Bad Bad Bad Blues are more hard hitting, rhythmic, full of blue images, not just the/inky sapphire,not/the cobalt the blue/eyes crying in /its rain but the/black cat blues,/the cat jolting out/of bed the kill,/blue of sarcoma.... But each one of these poems has a way of avoiding the inevitable ending , slipping off into only half/way there blues, blues that have not fully arrived, blues we have to look for because there were more blue than/there were words. Lyn Lifshin s prolificalness is legendary. Here is a bright spirit burning with poetry. Like Anna Pavlova, who brought the swan alive, Lyn is a streak of adrenaline dancing that does not burn out. Her magic is that she can appear and disappear without a trace. Her poems will fill us with color and then let us drift away in the mist. But the creative muscles of this writer are that of steel and this is the true irony. A poem titled, December 29, 2005 could be an autobiography: with the windows open, the white orchard A woman darts toward the melting, leaps past soap and towels, Not afternoons, long slowly drowsy paragraphs but an exclamation point, a wild sentence and the fire and plum coming into the sky These are the real colors and this is the life of the poem, which is also the life of the spirit. We are fortunate to have this sublime poet leaping to us with her wild poems. --Alice Pero

Of 92 Rapple Drive the ones that moved me most were the ones about (her) mother, the one about the foto of holding the cats and smiling, the "drunk on a new poem" and "mourning after mourning" phrases. Some are very painterly, I see Kennedy silver dollars. Lynn Lyfshin is one of the most productive poets I've known, and I've known a great many. She has carved and honed her style until it almost instantly recognizable and unique. That's a welcome and impressive departure from poets who fiddle the same tune over and over." —David Ray

Review excerpts by Laura Boss, editor, LIPS MAGAZINE

"...If 92 Rapple Drive were a horse rather than a house, it would win the Kentucky Derby."
"... Lyn Lifshin's brilliant and evocative 92 Rapple Drive adds a flawless Diamond to the tiara of 'The Queen of the Small Presses.' "
"... Open the door to Lyn Lifshin's 92 Rapple Drive , and you will not be able to leave until you have explored each sensual, evocative poem where memory fills each room and reminds us why Lifshin still remains 'The Queen of the Small Presses'."

Review by Hugh Fox

In this latest book, Lyn Lifshin, Ms. Total Story has become tantalizingly fragmentary, never quite telling it all but just giving the reader enough to get the outlines of the vision she's working with. Read the whole review.

Review by Norman J. Olson

Ernest Hemingway famously stated that "I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows." Lyn Lifshin is a minimalist, slice of life poet in that same long and strong American tradition of spare realism. In Lyn's poetry, the images do not convey meaning. Rather, the images are the meaning. Read the whole review.

Review by Joe La Rosa

William Carlos Williams counseled poets to "let the metaphysical take care of itself." That is easier said than done. Lyn Lifshin's strength and endurance as a poet is largely due to her ability to accomplish this feat. Read the whole review.

Cover Design by Ra Gabriel

Copyright c. 2008 by Lyn Lifshin. All Rights Reserved.


Last Updated: March 20, 2009