Friday, October 05, 2007
Jean Vengua muses on Paul Metcalf, the reminder of whom (and his writing) is lovely to this child. I don't remember how I came upon Metcalf's work, probably via those Olsonian journals that were a-plenty in the 70s and 80s. he drew particularly from Melville's practical side (as Olson drew from Melville's impractical). the harvested facts and opinions that formed the basis of much of his work developed a lyrical content as he chockablocked them. in some ways, he was like a sensible Pound. and there was a novelist aspect to his work, indeed. this sense of viewpoint and aspect conditioned what he wrote, tho in form he tore from the novel pattern (his early work, the largely standard novel Will West, is awkward in the way it holds itself back). I shall have to dig out my Metcalf trove. thinking on Metcalf distills thoughts about reputations. it seems, tho I'm not the best judge, that he has faded already. death don't have no mercy, as I hear. th flush of newness seems commanding nowadays. I think much can be learned from Metcalf. if nothing else, he always excites me to read, to look for the poetic in other venues than poetry books.