Saturday, October 15, 2005


JH: I write more with the sense of "falling into place" - that there's a spot open Somewhere, no matter how humble, that I happen to fill with the poem. Maybe radio angels have something to do with this - but I feel much the same way as when I find money on the sidewalk. Sometimes I find a penny, sometimes a twenty-dollar bill. I've yet to find a sack of gold, figuratively or literally, but there's always five minutes from now. I also like Rilke's Letter to a Young Man - what would be some of the pointers you would include in a letter to a young poet?

AHB: Falling into rather than receiving is an interesting perspective. Rilke kind of makes you think that you're not a poet unless you have asthma, it's a weird intensity or necessity. His letters to what's his name are generous, to the point that the recipient almost feel unworthy. And when the recipient admits to having swerved from the path of poetry later in life, as he notes in his introduction to the letters, there's a touch of guilt in the air. I've read many of the responses to the question 'How would you explain a poem to a seven year old?' at Here Comes Everybody. how to flail variously. I understood till I was about 15 that a poem was something to bore kids with in English class, so don't bug me man. Well seriously, I don't know what I would recommend for a young poet except to keep going and read curiously. Not too interesting. I could offer writers who were important to me, but they mightn't work for the young poet. Perhaps against what people might expect from him, Robert Grenier recommended that I read O'Hara and Koch when I was a young poet, that these writers would be useful in the direction I seemed to be going. The advice I try to give myself as an old poet is to mess around, disrupt my normalcy and such. Avoid the dicta of what poetry is.

If you don't mind, I would you like to discuss a poem you losted yesterday to the Wryting list.

The Echoing Green, My Piping Stains The Water Clear

me, I'm piping happy to be mirrored in complaint,
like a dove that drops a seed to a drowning man:
a live sign with cruel loves, a calvary volleying and
thundering into another's, greensward, dream ---
with a show so vast is a green charm assured
only to the green eye? vast as black, as blue, this
green charm now I pipe happily to drowny-blue complaint

I like Blake's poem from which this one derives (if derive is the correct word: is it?). Allen Ginsberg set it to music nicely, tho it was Elvin Jones' drumming that gave it to he angels. I note the jolt, or what is a jolt for me, of greensward, for it is a syntactical surprise. Can you speak of the motion of the poem, for I see a tension against its formal logic, as if a poem by Donne were jostled sharply. I like the colours, which are crammed with import.


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