The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Sandy Gingras’ “Not Even Close to What She Planned On”

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Sestina for Stephen Dunn

Say I figure out something about myself
like I secretly have a crush on my professor, Stephen Dunn.
He has these awful corduroy no-ass pants, but that’s OK, he won a Pulitzer Prize.
His poems are mostly about doubting himself. He writes maybe
and perhaps
on all my poems

too. I write these cool poems
all about myself,
and then he wrecks havoc on them perhaps
just because he can, after all, he’s Stephen Dunn
and maybe
he’s got a big ego since he won the Pulitzer Prize.

If you win the Pulitzer Prize,
you really have to write a lot of poems
not like the amount that I’ve written thirty or maybe
twenty good ones. I doubt myself
a lot. I’m kind of like Stephen Dunn
in that regard and all his poems about perhaps.

Perhaps
I wouldn’t like him if we went on a date and he kept talking about the Pulitzer Prize
so much. Or if he talked about himself in the third person like Stephen Dunn
does this or that. Or going on an on about his poems.
I’d like it if he paid attention to me, myself,
I a little bit too, maybe.

My husband walks in the door when I’m writing this and says maybe
I should write a sestina about him and his ass because he just washed my car perhaps?
I think he’s right. I should be ashamed of myself
for having fantasies about what dress I would wear if I won the Pulitzer Prize
and writing stupid sestina poems
about Stephen Dunn

when my husband’s in the driveway waxing on and waxing off. I bet Stephen Dunn
isn’t washing his wife’s car right now. Maybe
he’s just sitting around, looking out the window, writing poems
and thinking about how awesome it was to win the Pulitzer Prize.
Still, I think to myself,

Oh, Stephen Dunn, perhaps you aren’t so good at car-
waxing, but you won the Pulitzer Prize!
Speaking for myself, car-waxing is over-rated. The shine
always goes away fast, doesn’t it, Stephen Dunn?”
I wonder if perhaps you would write me one of your maybe poems.


This selection comes from the poetry chapbook “Not Even Close to What She Planned On” by Sandy Gingras, which is available to purchase here from Diode Editions.

Sandy Gingras is the author and illustrator of twenty-five illustrated books. She also wrote a mystery novel, SWAMPED, which won the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger Award in 2012. Her poetry and memoir pieces have been published in many journals. She designs stationery and gift products for several companies and owns two retail  stores. She lives with her husband, son and Golden Retriever on an island six miles out to sea off the coast of New Jersey.

Jennie Frost is a Jewish, Appalachian poet from Maryville, TN. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Anomaly, Kudzu, Glass Mountain, Sink Hollow, Indicia, Mochila, Stirring, and Political Punch, an anthology on the politics of identity from Sundress Publications. She is a three-time winner of the Curtis Owens prize and beginning in January, she will serve as the Writer in Residence at the Sundress Academy for the Arts.

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One thought on “The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Sandy Gingras’ “Not Even Close to What She Planned On”

  1. […] “Sestina for Stephen Dunn” uses repetition to brilliant effect. You can read it in its entirety over at The Sundress Blog; an excerpt will not do it justice. “Chicken” is one of my favorites, and Sandy has given me permission to share it with you here. […]

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