Saturday, September 06, 2008

I have written several times about Tom Beckett's The Difficulties, and now, recently, Tom has writ a few words about the experience. of publishing, that is, this influential (at least it was an influence for me) journal. I came out of a schooling at Franconia College much inspired by Robert Grenier (and Olson, Williams, Stein, Niedecker, Eigner), but still unable to see a clear path, which is to say that the poetry shelves at the library were monolithic in the confusion they bred in me. Tom's work as editor did a mean job of clearing the way for me. his publications were succour, can I say that? I recognized that his publications found their way to me from, you know, OHIO. an outpost. I valued that, and still do. I learned so much from my confrontations with The Difficulties. I know that I scribbled muchly in my copies, I know that I ordered copies for a friend. I am pretty sure that I added a few bucks to my orders (peccavi, Tom, if I did not). talking with Tom's daughter after his reading last fall, and she remembering collating pages as a child on the kitchen floor or some such picture. and then Tom sells the archive to Yale for a goodly chunk, tho zeroes could be fairly added now. I knew Tom 1st as an editor, tho every work of his that I read, that I would buy or he would add to orders, was solid, serious, great, as anyone who has placed their nose within the pages of Unprotected Texts knows. it is a crappy business, certes. the hustlers get heard, tho I write that and immediately must edit. energetically placing one's words before eyes is no bad thing, but chop back blocks are. aiming for the knees sort of imploring. territorial jerks. Tom mapped an essential hunk of land, essential landscape. for which, all honours from this voice.