Leonard Lopate, Hanna Schygulla, and Me (COVID)

(I’m going through old notebooks now finding pieces of old poems.  Here’s one)


Prayer for Being on the Leonard Lopate Show

Everyone kept telling me I had to

figure out a way to get on the Leonard Lopate show

because it was Good for My Career so a while ago

when I had a new book I tried . It wasn’t easy. I asked

Holly B. to help me. Also Elizabeth, Karen, Kathleen,

David, Sionna and anyone who knew someone there.

It took six months of Careful Hocking and consistent

single-mindedness which I don’t usually have.  I am

a buoy easily distracted but the Leonard Lopate show

might be able to help so I tried and finally one day

I was on the show with my book and Leonard Lopate

but I followed Hannah Schygulla  fantastic German actress who

starred in so many Fassbinder films.  When it was my

turn Leonard Lopate wanted to talk about Hannah Schygulla

with me and her movies (I had seen them) and how

well she could sing.  After a while I said What About My Book

and he laughed and said You Wrote One and that

was more or less that.

Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.


  1. Esther, this poem rings such a bell to me : all the efforts to have people talking, writing about my book. Once, I was at the TV just after Charlotte Rampling, and the make up artist who took care of my face told me Charlotte was stupid.

  2. So funny, and perfect.

    Esther-I was never on The Leonard Lopate Show, but he once disparaged a workshop I was teaching while he was interviewing people from The Center for Book Arts on his show. He singled out my ‘Wearable Book’ workshop saying he didn’t understand what was it, how it didn’t make any sense.

    Friends called and emailed telling me I should call in and defend my workshop, but I was out teaching-somewhere. Maybe an elementary school in the Bronx. There were so many workshops in so many places long ago.

    It wasn’t a dream. But now it seems like one.

  3. Your line ‘consistent single mindedness which I don’t usually have” – I love that. You described me or how I feel about my mind. I somehow found you in March and have a binder of your words, saving them so when I have time I can concentrate. thank you Esther.

  4. So after looking at his entry on Wikipedia, I now know, thanks to your poem, who Leonard Lopate is. How did I live in such ignorant bliss all these years?

  5. Everyone gets their comeuppance once in awhile. Listen to Leonard Lopate get shredded by Shirley McClain in a fun and witty way. He didn’t have a chance through the whole interview. He was a four year old in her hands. Enjoy!

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