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Acting Lessons

John Lehman

Midwest native John Lehman recollects and explores his life encounters in Acting Lessons, the newest chapbook in the Parallel Press series. Lehman ponders his past by intertwining his passion for the theater; writing his poetry as if they were screenplays and making references to Hollywood and literary icons of the past and present. Lehman writes, “Though you don’t look like Veronica Lake, as I / watch her movie re-run on TV, I want to lose / myself in its phony fog…”

John Lehman is the founder and original publisher of Rosebud, a national magazine of short stories, poetry, and illustration. He is the poetry editor of Wisconsin People & Ideas as well as managing partner of Zelda Wilde Publishing. For three years, with editors Andrea Musher and Marilyn Taylor, he published the free, street-quarterly Cup of Poems and a Side of Prose. John was a finalist for the Wisconsin Poet Laureate position in 2004 and again in 2008. Dramatic readings of his plays, A Brief History of My Tattoo, The Jane Test, and The Writer’s Cave have been presented in Milwaukee and Madison.

John Lehman’s previous collections of poetry, Shrine of the Tooth Fairy, Dogs Dream of Running, and Shorts: 101 Brief Poems of Wonder and Surprise are available from Cambridge Book Review Press, Salmon Run Press and Zelda Wilde Publishing. His latest nonfiction books are America’s Greatest Unknown Poet: Lorine Niedecker Reminiscences, Photographs, Letters and Her Most Memorable Poems, and Everything is Changing: How to Gain Loyal Customers and Clients Quickly. Lehman grew up in Chicago but for the last twenty years has lived with his wife, Talia Schorr, their four dogs, and six cats in Rockdale, Wisconsin.

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I Hear Voices

They say, “Fix the lawnmower.”
“Clean the garage.” Then I realize

I’ve left the door open and it’s birds.
Please, I need voices that lie, not

issue orders. Voices that tell me
how lucky I am to be alone.