Friday, June 22, 2007
been reading Stephen Vincent's new book, Walking Theory (Junction Press 2007). of which this current ramble mayn't be a review. because, 'istorin, find out for yourself, but really, the book causeth mental ramblings. so look: first poem is simply the route of a walk, Nathan Whiting-style. and further on Vincent goes divagation and ponder. I don't mean to be lame here, just thinking of methodology in the option of walking, walking. when I ran more assiduously, 80+ miles a week, I used to fairly regularly transcribe the runs afterwards. couldn't help it. what Stephen does is more mature and philosophic, a thoughtful sense of place, in time as well as in space. death is present here because death was present for Stephen as the work was written. death of brother and father, fading of mother. I can only say his work with his mother is exquisite, makes me sad at my own failings as my parents drew towards the edge. but I shan't go further here regarding Stephen's work, I'll save that for another time and when. I'm drawn into thoughts of Thoreau, for instance. who certainly had his own walking theory. I live near the centre of a circle of say 25 miles diameter, just guessing, that Thoreau covered. check out his journals, crisscrossing his world. he applied himself to the world as if it were new and wonderful. isn't that the treasure of poetry? not, say, in the emotions described or enacted, but in its language. death and its lack of mercy may likely be a topic or starting point for a poem, for a writing, anybody's, but that aint the news. the news is the juncture of language and the person. Thoreau, or Vincent, wander, and see. writing is a way of seeing. I don't know the details but Stephen makes walking a part of his writing process. and Thoreau, you can see him rise in the morning, step from his cabin and apply himself to the miles and landscape, to see specific eggs hatch, or buds break. you can stretch it to Berrigan or O'Hara, this will in the world. I mean, you can stretch it to any poet worth the name, but those 2 make nice pictures. wandering out there under whatever impetus, writing swift briefs of their momentum. think of Dickinson, more painstaking, perhaps, and much more local and constrained. and what is Silliman's BART but that same acceptance. it appears I have no focus at this time so let me hint just this vaguely at the resonances I hear in these varied. each day and its opportunity. and I offer Walking Theory as kindly exemplar of method and process, of a mature arrogation of the writing act.