Saturday, August 25, 2007
read the intro to A Book of PROPHECHIES by John Wieners from Bootstrap Productions and began a short memoir of Creeley by [author name here] from Pressed Wafer, 2 of the recently dead/dearly departed. I 'met' Creeley 35 years ago at Franconia College, a stirring tale that, tho I must've recounted it here before, bears repeating. those who didn't turn out for other readings showed for this one. it was something of a homecoming for Creeley, who lived a few miles away back in his chicken tending days when he began corresponding with Olson. I didn't think he read especially well as I didn't when he read in Boston in 2000. he read a considerable chunk of a prose piece, which I've never read except for the chunk published in This. I believe the idea of Creeley writing prose excited me then but I'm not sure I absorbed much of the work. after the reading was a party at Robert Greniers, and rather than just the school's student writers, much of the school's community attended. during the course of which Grenier attempted to introduce me to Creeley. 3 times Grenier said something like Bob, I'd like you to meet... then someone would speak to Creeley, or he'd suddenly wonder what was on the record player or whatever. this amused rather than upset me as Creeley was clearly in another state. as was I, adrenalized by the event and, oddly, a commanding sense of myself as a writer. at some point Creeley sat near me. he was full of energy. he managed to make the record player skip, which set him to doing that intentionally by stomping his feet. this evolved into hand clapping. I joined him in the clapping. we syncopated quite intently. intently as well he looked at me, which I returned. an odd little meeting, I daresay. no words were exchanged. Wieners I never met. he brings the Venn diagram of art and illness into a perspective. note that I said a.a clinician would regard Wieners differently from how a poet would regard him. both views, or neither, are 'true'. the ravings of madness are often poetic, but poetry isn't madness. with Wieners, one faces the border of that, the shared space of the Venn balloons. I mean, with Wieners, the sense of that is strong. Creeley's interesting behaviour that night owed something (I'm totally guessing) to drugs or alcohol, but I imbibed neither yet was running on some transporting energy too. somehow after the party I ended up with several people I hardly knew. we 1st climbed onto this rock ledge overlooking Profile Lake (above which the Old Man in the Mountain used to loom) called the Poet's Seat or something like. full moon over the lake, as my memory wants to hold it. and after that, an all night trip to Montreal, and back. hm. yesterday we took food and ate dinner at Walden. the water level had finally receded so that the lower paths were open again. Erin had a disposable underwater camera that he wanted to try out. mallards floated hither and yon. some teens were throwing pebbles at the ducks not out of meanness but because they freaked them out. imagine! a woman called out, I'm swimming with the ducks! I don't know why I connect our latest visit to Walden to those poets. I hadn't thought of that view from the Poet's Seat in a long while. and the Old Man is gone, as is the school, both the institution and the building. Thoreau isn't there, but we remember him. some of what we remember is a craziness, likewise how we recall Dickinson, most writers. I shorely don't want to diagnose. we treat of the expressions and how those expressions grow and make sense. had an intro gotten thru to Creeley, the conversation, my part, would be something like, um, I like Pieces, etc. clapping hands to "Can You Hear Me Knocking" maybe is more a meeting, not to say Creeley had a 2nd thought about it. it all matters.
Friday, August 24, 2007
a Unitarian church stands across the street from us. its bell tolls hourly, but I've already come to hardly notice. altho today, starting around 5pm, it kept ringing for maybe 30 minutes. it may be a war protest, best guess, tho no one was outside on the green to make the point. the church now sports a banner on the side proclaiming the virtues of diversity. which is white middle class suburban talkspeak for what, exactly? I grew up in the Unitarian church, so I claim the right to throw stones. when Beth and I 1st married, we thunk as how the church would be a good thing for Erin, as a social vector, if nothing else. my father, at the time, was still attending church, as he did responsibly for some 50 years. I had long since lost any interest in the church beyond the physical structure itself, a neat airy contemplative space, but a place where Erin could meet kids was an important consideration. the minister, who married us, told Beth that the church's youth group wasn't what you might call receptive to, well, anyone. that this new kid, Erin, might not be welcomed for reasons of his being, well, the new kid. or shit like that. at the time the church seethed with a brouhaha concerning whether or not to have a sign welcoming gays. the result of the battle was a temporary invitation to any stray gays who needed an insincere home where they could be welcomed for who they are, for a while. honest, it played just like that. the Unitarians might scare up some anti-war sentiment but the diversity thing is just a sham. it is words as defensive maneuver. as I said, my father was a long time member of the church. the church did little when he could no longer manage attending church. periodically a couple of church members would officially count coup on him, you know, tag the old guy, reap Unitarian karma points. I hated it. especially when, overwhelmed, I called to see if the church could provide any relief for a caregiver of one of their members (negatory on that one, good buddy). so that banner across the street, with the central casting unit of shiny diversity smiling at all, brings an anger to me. there was never a moral structure involved in the church that I knew. words glazed motive. talk is cheap. Walt Whitman is almost a Unitarian minister, except for an essential sincerity that trumps his showboat nature. I mean, when he invokes a picture of him give succour to a runaway slave, he manages to keep the political moment true. yes, I realize he maintains a hovering erotic element, natheless there's something gosh darn true in the exploit of his words. for all his bluster, he's on to something. as poet, there is pathfinding to do. always. the Unitarian syndrome is only for followers. the ecstatic intent of a singular path provides a grace of reflection that a Unitarian blowhard doesn't bother with. I guess I got my dukes up. that sanitary banner, and the flags of diversity adorning the nifty little church garden, just don't get the work done.
I swept some of the typos from the post below. I admit to an antic rush as I post to the blog. especially when I am fading towards sleep, as often is the case. I rather like the lightheaded sloppiness of such a process, but am not agin cleaning up the work a bit. I feel the need to report this, just so's you don't think I can't write a nifty sentence if pressed.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
ah, let me ruminate... yesterday, Beth noticed that the nest of wrens in the eaves of our porch were more noticeable: you could see their little heads sticking up. bumptious artisan that I am, I grabbed my camera. 1st picture, I held the camera over my head, and got evidence of the wrenlings but hardly a great shot. I climbed onto the railing and managed 2 more shots. the flash went off both times, which I rued as being rude. as I attempted a better position, one of the chicks levitated, as it seemed, from the nest and... well, it plummetted. it was like a flight, resembling (too) maple tree seeds, what are they called? the things you, as a kid, might've split and stuck to your nose. or maybe you didn't... anyway, that whirligig downward spin. thud. I felt like I was just injected with Michael Vick's soul, I mean, did I need to assault the nest for the sake of some half-assed photograph? Beth told me to return it to the nest. we have a friend of considerable ornithological expertise (a bird, wren maybe, was named by him(!!!)) who asserts that it aint nothing to do so, won't taint the little ones. so I tried to capture the wee bit of bird. it looked a little stunned but my agitation and clumsiness as I tried to collect it were enough to send it skittering. its skittering could fairly be placed in the category of flight. Beth, watching, finally said let it go. mom and pop were vocally about. I felt rather like crud but released from the effort. I took my guilty feelings elsewhere but soon Beth came to say that the other 2 chicks left the nest. mother wren had corralled the 3 and the learning process was go. okay, so this long nature study really wants to be about writing. about poetry even. because think of the flux of feelings involved, and how a writer comprises such. furthermore the symbolic 'facts' that spring up. okay, yeah so well like, we accept poetry as a transformation, don't we? or translation. we see words as experience. sometimes this just means congestive heart failure. too much fluid overfills the possible breath. in this metaphor, the fluid is a potent sentiment. o love! o death! o inadequacy! writers try to wring the bejesus out of that sentimental event. the writer thinks: I felt something and must share... this is a pet called Bad Poetry. it's the conscious clicking of gears that is the trouble. Blake's Songs of In and Ex aren't thunk thru positions in sentiment, they are rare scrapings of essential skin. likewise the mosquito bite clarity of Dickinson. I'm not trying to put up barriers here, in matters of canon or style. the event of those chicks taking flight was brusque monstrance of momentum. you have your own select gathering. 2 centuries ago, Keats had his nightingle. terms differ now. plenty of writers still posit central motifs like, say, chicks floundering into flight (or death). but there's a less direct approach now. my being situates in the motivation factor, which is emotional, sometimes stupidly enthralled with the peopled response. I shan't write a poem that baldly places wren and me in poetic 2-step, I've weeded that impulse from my directive. that doesn't mean I wasn't affected. and poetry, I daresay, springs from that very fount. still, I mean. e'en tho I might dodge the possible exploit of emotive meaning, that I might proceed with procedures, that I might seem to hand the steering wheel to another driver. th energy transfer occurs, even if the lofty sentiments that Sam'l Johnson asserted as poetic positive aren't painted on this writer's forehead. this morning, as I left for work, a wren chick sprung from under the porch and lighted on the car. a wee frailty building life. it survived its 1st lonesome night in the world of predators, there's the one fact. I think I look at birds because they are of The Poetry. because they are tonic note in some chord of which my writing somehow... I don't mean nature poetry or that, I mean the instance of their fact, read by me. those instances of facts could be anything, o rare writer, anything that brings you to bear the weight. I'm saying poetry is sprung from the world but not that it details the world's distractions. I'm not suggesting a right poetry, only noting a means and process. I could, this night, write a poem involved in all the spurts of emotional response that arose as I engaged the bird moment, or have done it yestreen. yatta yatta yatta. hey, let's get rid of the obvious. the obvious has done its job. let's see poetry go beyond pious NYers identifying their moments in the flux. for instance. and so on. metaphors are nice until they die. similes need to be trimmed daily. why are you involved in your writing? you there, I mean, the one with all the words in your head. why are those yourwords? I posit no answers, but like how things bump up against, in words and all.
Monday, August 20, 2007
I say we a lot, and I'm sticking with it.We are still putting things in their place. books have yet to be unpacked. reading Faulkner and the latest issue of Tricycle (Buddhist mag), c'est ca. who reads books, anyway? well, if reading books soaks your teabag, why not get Days Poem. it was written with the belief that Walden Pond, bears, Henry Thoreau, Fu Manchu, Nepal and hobos all exist. it was written with love. we are now going there regularly, Walden, that is. it makes sense. so anyway, in lieu of reading, we watched Twister again last night. it holds up well. that's a thing about movies. many, I find, wear out. after a few viewings I tend to fast froward (typo alert! I retain it because how often will froward show up in anything I write???), or want to, to the nifty bits. Twister remains quite compelling visually, even tho some of the effects look a little like last week. I love the sense of place. somehow, the movie makes Oklahoma in the summer seem like a jolly wonderful place. oh those lovely farmhouses and lush cornfields, and I'm sure it doesn't get hot in Oklahoma in the summer time. the camera treats all the characters quite amiably, even what's his name as the Snidely Whiplash of tornado chasers. the antic crew of good guys is a fun ensemble of Hollywood almost nobodies who each has a fully defined 2-dimensional character to play with. funny to see Philip Seymour Hoffman before he became Capote (which I haven't seen but I'm sure his transformation is blah blah blah breathtaking). while Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton and Jami Gertz play their de rigueur pas de trois, tornadoes come and go. it works. the wonderland of Oklahoma brims alive with twisters. altho Helen Hunt has a mission thru out the film, the tornadoes never become vengeful murderers, as Hollywood movies tend to track. timely laughs lift nicely, most notably near the end when Helen and Bill enter a barn for protection, only to see scads of pointy scythes and pitch forks rocking in the building breeze. this may be as close to twisters as I'll ever get. soon I shall read poetry again, soon write.