Thursday, September 22, 2005


JH: I aspire to be a conduit - I like the classical idea that a poet should try to add to the existing store of literature, however humble the offering, rather than trying to write something completely new. If a poet writes something that seems completely unique, or less familiar to an astonishing degree, then good for that poet (and the store). Yes, I think my poetry is very much a part of my reading - my poems are a reading done with a pencil instead of the eyes. I was very interested in your process for "the Sticky Name is All Bramhall". Do you think that what you saw in your mind (parts of your narratable life) when writing the original biographical note was significantly altered when you read the final (or latest) version of "the Sticky Name is All Bramhall"? Did the new language - and form, the repetition of words - make you see anything in a new light? Do you recall what was the word that became the word "sticky"? "Competent" is another word that crops up in this poem. What was "competent" originally? Has Jane Harrison (an author I often return to) influenced your poetry and/or thought any? How did reading Olson's interests influence your poetry -did you read them in anything resembling a continuous block of time? What kind of phrase is "continuous block"?

AHB: The ur-text (and that's the 2nd time in 24 hours and my life that I've used that term) for Sticky was an autobiographical note that I had to write for school (I am working towards my late in life MA), a straightforward but boring hunk of text. The engine behind using it (aside from sense that any text would do) was impatience with the stricture within which it was written. Dealing with my life as a 3-page piece of writing, trying to 'put across' some 'facts' about me. I wanted to open the boundaries a bit. I like seeing the traces of the original, tho the meaning of sentences differs greatly from what was. 'Viscous' (which transmogrified into 'sticky') replaced 'I'; my 1st order of business was to waylay that personal voice. There's irony if not satire, slight in either case, in using such a text, but that was not my main motive. I have not (yet) read much Harrison (Jane), her name came up as likely territory to study, especially with her connection to Olson (or vice versa). Olson's reading list (not specifically the one he prepared for Ed Dorn, tho that's a useful document) kept me busy for quite a while in an unfocused way, as I found the books and as my current reading interest allowed. Sometimes he confirmed what I knew. For instance, I'd already read Bernard DeVoto when I discovered Olson's note on him. I guess my Olsonian reading has been a discontinuous block. I think the history and science that I read has provided a foundation for my writing, something 'firm' and 'real'. For years, I avoided reading philosophy because the language so often used shies further and further from 'real things'. Do Hegel and Kant ever mention trees? I loved Thoreau and liked Emerson because their writing did include trees. I still enjoy my Concord neighbours (both are buried just down the road from me) but I've learned to like the weird swirling stuff that Hegel and Kant (and other philosophes) write. Do you get what I mean? Does philosophy do anything for you? You've mentioned some interest in alchemy and astrology, can you speak of that as well? Would you relate your interest in alchemy and astrology to philosophy?


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