Wednesday, April 02, 2014

160

JH: Internalized, absorbed texts may be considered as either a part of the poet's personality (character?) or as another personality of the poet; in other words, either as a part of the poet's personality or as the poet, the one who writes the poems. Which would you say? I would say the latter. In writing many poems about Actaeon, I am able to write an Actaeon poem as naturally as I am able to write a journal entry or respond to your Antic View questions. Naturally, but not effortlessly, else I could write an Actaeon poem on demand, as I can answer a question on demand or write of the day's events on demand. An Actaeon poem is more poem than it is Actaeon. I consistently like your writing, for example, this gem, "Walk Down a Path":

Artful indolent cold spell in the reply version of where you are. Place mobile war chant on loud, exert word for posture, extend depth to the least surface.

Impulse beckons. That means your loan arranger has scads of destiny to replace your life. You are politically viable, with a laugh. Fading is an intense practice of widespread. Delete autonomy, it doesn't pay.

Easy exactitude when if comes to refrains. If you say it over, and add over, your days will arrive the space of menace. Do not misdoubt the cactus of seeming attribute.

A poem in the while commands a station in the naught. You were reasoning for a while, the while left home. Space is the detection of infinite, which fills the space between words aswork.

You are like a wind in words forever. So am I. So are the words that make forever.

****

Could you speak of this poem, please?
AHB: For quite a while you wrote of/about/concerning a Virginia that was something a person, something a place, something even a mindset. Your Actaeon poems seem to be similar in tactic and moreso. They seem to be written in sacred time, with actions and events (of Actaeon) caught (nympholepsy) in timeless radiance. It is not obsession from which you write but a sense of time's extent. My own poem above finds a frequent state for me where words seem formidable and timeless. I think I write wondering if words will work. All words could work, but they don't always. Or we (readers/writers/people) don't know how to receive.
You posted a link to Spanish translations of some Actaeons to Wryting-l. The translations include illustrations. I'll include the originals you supplied at the end of this post. Speak of the collaboration,
link: http://weeimage.blogspot.it/2014/02/acteon-by-jeff-harrison.html
originals:
Hunters, their valuation

If a hart, how was Actaeon a hunter? Who was Actaeon next to Hippolytus? Actaeon imbruted did not astonish the steeds of steady Hippolytus; no Actaeon rose from the sea. Artemis beheld, what Nimrod reshaped raised the name of Hydra, of Chimaera, of beast Nemean, Calydonian?
 ~
 Shepherds' Council

Hands that to roods have nailed paws lupine, and have nailed paws leonine, nail to cypresses wings cygnet, as Artemis holds cygnets dear, chaste Artemis Who disdains display even for vengeance, and holds vengeance dear solely upon discovery: this is had from Her nymphs when they hymn of Actaeon by Artemis imbruted, which change surely befell shepherds of late vanished to us.
 ~

Our Actaeon‏
 
Again disarranged, our Actaeon; a supernal's tooth, then our own. I am as many paces from this as from the moon. Actaeon had an Artemis; could we not have had a Circe, like those who served a wilier, luckier captain?
 
~
 
Actaeon still‏
 
Take my hand; I perish, maniac. Than a hart's stems I am more frail by far; my spirit will fail before I leave your fountain's side. Actaeon still, I cannot face another supernal, and several, and these supernals hounds.
 
~
Our Actaeon‏
Again disarranged, our Actaeon; a supernal's tooth, then our own. I am as many paces from this as from the moon. Actaeon had an Artemis; could we not have had a Circe, like those who served a wilier, luckier captain?
~
Actaeon still‏
Take my hand; I perish, maniac. Than a hart's stems I am more frail by far; my spirit will fail before I leave your fountain's side. Actaeon still, I cannot face another supernal, and several, and these supernals hounds.
~
Familiar Actaeon
The wings of cygnets were attached -- with cygnet, often, and without -- and by nail always; one nail per wing, one wing per cygnet -- cypress by cypress, but it takes deity to attach a deer to a vanished man.
~
Actaeon
Down the rain of all my days the deer steps.

Monday, March 31, 2014

159

JH: Do you ever revisit texts that you once found influential, but now leave you unsympathetic? Are there degrees of influence? Might an author no longer be interested in a certain degree of influence? There are types of influences, and one or more of these types may no longer interest an author; for instance, an author may no longer be interested in forms, or may no longer be interested in theory.

AHB: Let's just pretend there has been no two year gap. I do revisit influential texts. I would not say my reaction has become unsympathetic. More that the particular text has been absorbed. Not perhaps in detail, the way a scholar would, but that I had gained the usefulness for me from it. At this point in my life, I'm not trying to imitate writers, which I did consciously and unconsciously as a young writer. Spring and All by WCW comes to mind as just such a text. Its variety of approach with crisp short-lined poems interspersed with prose sections was eye-opening to me. But if I ever wrote a “WCW Poem”, I didn't want to continue doing so. And as much as I have learned from Charles Olson, I don't want to write Maximus Poems. Theory really helped hone my understanding of poetry but now theory would only serve to make me self-conscious. It should be noted that the pleasure I derive from reading poetry is pretty random. Often enough I cannot abide even the stuff I “like”. But I do consistently like your writing. You have for quite some time been producing these terse, enigmatic texts of barely a line. Many, like the following, feature Actaeon.

No Hart Follows

The hart leaps! The hart leaps! I had always seen the hart leap. The bather steps, the hart leaps, and no hart follows the bather from her bourne. The hound looks to the skies, the wolf looks to the moon, and neither hound nor wolf descry the hart.

* * * * *

It's a picture, or figures on a Grecian urn. Jeff, whence come these gems?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

158

JH: Poetry may be what is omitted from some unknown whole. Aside from Twain's autobiography, have there been any other writings that have had an influence on your own? Influence seems to be a matter of sympathy, identification, recognition. Could one pick a text at random and assign oneself influence? Does sympathy inspire the specifics of inspiration? If someone were influenced sympathetically by Moby-Dick, for instance, that person may write a text devoid of whales and the sea, whereas someone who picked Moby-Dick at random might be sure to include whales and the sea.

AHB: I’m not sure why but it has been difficult to reply to your questions, as evidenced by my slow response time. It seems like certain writings elicit a sequence of response. I think of The Maximus Poems, which seemed impermeable but at the same time, a map driven for me. I think one can and people do pick a text randomly and assign influence. In such a case, the writer has a necessity, inchoate or undefined, that needs a resolving effort. The text then becomes the field of concern, because it already as authority. I agree quite with the observation of your last sentence. The sympathic influence creates inventive pathways. Random entrance to the work, like by a literature class, would respond to the obvious salients.

Friday, February 03, 2012

157

JH: What inspired you to write an autobiographical book? I'm looking forward to it! Do you see autobiography as yet another narrative, with authorial insight which may or may not be shared with the reader? Can more be omitted from an autobiography than can be omitted from a poem? In other words, is there an essential of autobiography as there is an essential of poetry? The omission of a single word, phrase, or line can strip a poem of the poetic, leaving it a text. Is there such a fatal omission in autobiography? Would the omission lie in the author's approach to the autobiography rather than in specific words?

AHB: Autobiography is narrative, and an available one (I know the subject). For me, I must speak of specific events in my family that has left me ruptured from my brothers. That’s a deep well. But I do not want to omit goofy things, happy things, and the radiating spans of life. Reading the first volume of Twain’s autobiography last year helped me formulate the idea to write. He wrestled with format then finally just wrote as it came. So I have allowed myself to ramble. What I consciously omit will be what seems boring to me. Jung writes about how the conscious mind refuses what it cannot comprise, hence the unconscious. Yet the unconscious, we understand, makes itself known. I have always trusted that the less I get in the way of the writing process the more valuable, or at least interesting, the writing. In a sense, whatever I omit is still there.

Monday, January 30, 2012

156

JH: Your mining analogy is a description of poem series as well as style. What is the relation of poem series to recurring characters? I cannot foresee that I will again write poems in any of my series, but I can imagine writing poems that include any character in my past writings. For me, a poem series is a matter of form rather than character. I don't consider my Virginia poems, for instance, as part of a series, though Virginia has appeared in at least two of my series. "Reminiscence" includes characters that may reoccur in future poems. The Creaky Wink may also reoccur. Speaking of recent poems, here is your "Probably So", a superb poem that makes excellent use of enjambment and prose/line interaction:

He’s

throwing his bullet wounds at us,”

said George Harrison. Could

you do the same, Absolute Reader?

Turning verbs to use nouns in the picture, and the end zone falters with completion. The idea in life makes a great prop. Charity cannot exist, but new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine period. We must discuss the efforts of those counted for more than one. And

God said, “I will provide a train station.

AHB: I guess a general come what may attitude persists. I’m writing an autobiographical book. It roams about in time, because the logic of chronology is no logic at all. So we, writers, go for what interests us, proves useful. George Harrison really did say what I quote him saying (to Peter Fonda), at least according to the story. The image struck me as dynamic. And of course I let the bubbling currency of “news” (from radio or newspaper) seep in. A sort of reverse of Jung’s picture of the unconscious influencing the conscious. I don’t know why such a line as the last one would exist, which is exactly why I like it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

155

JH: Style may be likened to a characteristic manner of speaking. One often changes one's way of speaking depending on circumstance. In writing, each poem is approached differently by the only way a poem may be approached, by words (the only visual/audible, verifiable approach to a poem, I should clarify). Is it true that each and every poem is approached differently? There is speaking, and there is the speaker. How different can a speaker be?  A poet's style may be appreciably different than it was ten years ago, but is it likely to be much different from ten days ago? This ten-day difference may happen a few times over a poet's lifetime, but probably wouldn't happen every ten days over a poet's lifetime.

AHB: I suppose if you are mining  the earth for whatever ore you first find the precious. As you dig, perhaps you find greater concentration. As you continue, you find that the concentration diminishes as the lode pays out. I think writers tend to approach each poem the same, like with the previous.in repetition of this writing act, we find something different.

So speaking of which, you supplied Wryting-L with the following different sounding piece. No Greek, and kinda flaky:

Reminiscence

The masque at the Creaky Wink, it was some affair! Me and Het Rancifer, were we the Red Death, the Yellow King? You'd think. We, venerable, inveterate to the Wink, masqued as Gravestone and Madness Creek, newcomers to the Creaky Wink. Some pair!

Monday, January 02, 2012

154

JH: Few of my prose poems exceed five sentences. Can I say that I don't intend to write short poems? Brevity accompanies the lyric, and although I know there are many kinds of poems, I hold poetry and the lyric as synonyms. Regardless, I don't deliberately write short poems. Is cleaving to a type of poem a definition of style?

AHB: I do not feel like I cleave to a style. I write how I can. I think about style, as an object of originality, about as much as I think of my fingerprints in the same light. Sometimes I consciously put limits and dimensions to my writing, but in all cases the writing discovers itself. It does seem like it takes a certain confidence to know that the one sentence that you have written is ‘done’. I mean, a certain momentum exists in the act of writing. And see, I have written a short reply.