In response to:

His Nemesis Was Stupidity from the April 7, 2022 issue

To the Editors:

In lieu of a rebuttal, I would like to submit the following poem in response to Ange Mlinko’s review of my Baudelaire translations [“His Nemesis Was Stupidity,” NYR, April 7]:


When I know well the cards I’ve got will lose,
and somebody I’ve hated, taking hold
of all the chips, will leave me grief and booze,
when I feel mean and desperate and old,

when I can see quite clearly nothing’s flawless
but, up close, there are pocks and flecks and tatters,
and there’s no hope, no happiness, no solace
for fools who work at anything that matters,

when I’m convinced that there are no safe havens,
no loves, no pals, and nowhere left to turn,
and now’s high time to talk of rats and ravens
and whether I’d prefer a grave or urn,

then the asthmatic burr in me that sings
from cussèd spite blesses the mess of things.

Aaron Poochigian
New York City