To Read Or Not To Read …


Well, I will be reading tomorrow night at the ACA Gallery with some very fine poets. Please stop by for wine, cheese, music, and banter if you’ve got the time. Or if you don’t but can just squeeze a little slice into your very busy New York City schedule, make it mine! I’ll read a special poem just for you. Click here for more info.

In other queries, does anyone know why Ms. Gertrude Stein equated having an orgasm with having a cow as opposed to some other farm animal or noise? I have an idea, though I fear it may be too candid to appear on a publicly-tread-upon blog. If you’re adventurous, feel free to speculate out loud … and thanks for any clues!

An excerpt:

Lifting belly
So high
And aiming.
And making
A cow
Come out
…That is what I adore always more and more.


And another:

I am fondest of all of lifting belly …
Lifting belly is in bed
And the bed has been made comfortable …
Lifting belly
So high
And aiming.
Exactly and making a cow come out.

–from Lifting Belly by Gertrude Stein

7 Responses to “To Read Or Not To Read …”

  1. DCD Says:
    July 25th, 2006 at 5:13 pm eMooooo.
  2. kaplan Says:
    July 25th, 2006 at 5:54 pm eI think Ulla Dydo in _Gertrude Stein: The Language That Rises_ has some kind of explanation, but I can’t find the passage right now–it’s a mammoth book. Just going on memory, the cow designates two intertwined possibilities: orgasm and/or composition. In both cases, Stein had to collaborate with Tolkas. So “making a cow come out” has this dual meaning: first, the poem “Lifting Belly” now that it’s written, and second, sex with Tolkas. The connection between the two is important, according to this view, because Stein posits the link between sexuality and modernism, etc. But why not a goat or a pig? Maybe the word didn’t have the right ring.

    Btw, the other work with many cows is “A Lyrical Opera.”

  3. Dan Coffey Says:
    July 25th, 2006 at 6:44 pm eCalifornia cows are happier. I saw it on the TV.
  4. Amy King Says:
    July 26th, 2006 at 6:40 pm eAhh, thanks for that, Kaplan.

    I’m still thinking the selection in farm animal itself has something to do with, not just the size of a cow though that seems related, but to milking something, which can apply to men and women, as well as to milk, which also applies across the board. But that’s just me being base, I think …

  5. Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Says:
    August 2nd, 2006 at 10:34 pm eMaybe it is becuase everything that a cow does seems to come from deeper within the gut. “Moo-ing,” walking, eating grass, seems to take a lot of effort on behalf of the cow. They are so slow, that they are always in the midst of pertetual action. By the time a cow finally gets out the “moo” sound, it has made several other gutteral sounds in preparation, and then it explodes. And cows don’t really think. Everything they do is instinct. Pigs and goats try to reason…I think I just lost my city-slicker status with that comment.
  6. Cows in Paris Says:
    October 9th, 2006 at 7:14 am eMaybe when Gertrude aimed exactly, Alice mooed the longest of moos just like a very noisy cow!!!
  7. shayne Says:
    December 4th, 2006 at 11:16 pm ewe arent meant to know what the cow is. we speculate that this is a reference between stein and her partner (as previously posted). thats all we need to know really.sure we can make some BS connections about cows being associated with milk, and milk with children, and children with nurturing, and nurturing with females, and somehow lead us to the female climax. (not to say the cow DOESNT represent this)but we dont know why it does.
    this is a clear example of the subjectivity of language in general.
    if “a rose is a rose is a rose”, a cow is a cow is a cow.

Poetry Readings

AMY KING View All →

Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.

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