'Love Poems': A Valentine's Day Story

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Valentine's Day isn't all sweetness and light. Just ask Seattle librarian David Wright, who reads for us a different kind of Valentine story — Love Poems by Lon Otto.

GUY RAZ, host:

And on this Valentine's Day, we asked Seattle librarian David Wright to read us something, well, inspired.

Mr. DAVID WRIGHT (Librarian, Seattle Public Library): This is "Love Poems" by Lon Otto.

(Reading) He has written her a Saint Valentine's Day love poem. It is very beautiful. It expresses, embodies a passionate, genuine emotion, emotion of the sort he had hardly realized himself capable of, tenderness that is like the tenderness of a better man.

At the same time, the imagery is hard, diamond-clear, the form intricate yet unobtrusive. He says the poem out loud to himself over and over. He cannot believe it. It is so good.

It is the best poem he's ever written. He will mail it to her tonight. She will open it as soon as it arrives, cleverly timed on Saint Valentine's Day. She will be floored. She will be blown away by its beauty and passion. She will put it away with his other letters, loving him for it as she loves him for his other letters.

She will not show it to anyone, for she is a private person, which is one of the qualities he loves in her.

After he has mailed the poem to her, written out in his interesting hand, he types up a copy for his own files. He decides to send a copy to one of the more prestigious literary magazines, one into which he has not yet been admitted. He hesitates about the dedication, which could lead to embarrassment, among other things, with his wife.

In the end, he omits the dedication. In the end, he decides to give a copy also to his wife. In the end, he sends a copy also to a woman he knows in England, a poet who really understands his work. He writes out a copy for her, dedicated to her initials. It will reach her a few days late, and she will think of him thinking of her a few days before Saint Valentine's Day.

RAZ: That's Seattle librarian David Wright, reading "Love Poems" by Lon Otto.

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