Saturday, June 03, 2006


JH: "hurdling our confused sense of language into the zone of release" is a very useful and provocative phrase! The zone of release is separate from language, as are emotions? We all think in much the same language, despite our tongue (or species, even, if you want to get elemental). Calling thought (instinctive, for lack of a better word, rather than intellectual) a language is a function of language (words), which tends to fashion all in its image. Much as "the shades of 231 literary giants persuaded / Virginia's last ashes to their assorted psalms". Psalms are poems, persuasion is a function of language / literature, shades (ghosts) and ashes (remnants, funerary) are, in reality, the ultimate fictional characters in that such leavings refer to what came before. In poetry, shades and ashes are the imaginary leavings of imaginary beings. The 231 literary giants appear in four of my poems written in a four-month period (2004 and 2005). I had considered giving a few names, either actual or invented, of the 231 literary giants. Perhaps my Sainte-Beuve is one of them, and perhaps Herr Bibliothekarius. Time will tell, or not. "Faucet Hill" is a fictional town that appears in one other poem. "Faucet Hill Pharaoh-Gazette July 8, 1891" suggests that the poem is based on a newspaper account (or the poem was published in this newspaper). Where do such fictional characters go? Why do some disappear, and others remain? Is it simply a matter of the author's interest? Are some characters less of a draw for words? You have used several characters in your poetry, and some do not return (it was good to see the return of Lenin in your "plans to make plans, and how!"). Can one even speak of a return in a body of work - isn't it all set in place, being in that body? What was to be ephemeral is promised permanence of a sort, such as Virginia in the psalms of the 231 literary giants, but the river carries it away. Three page cards are presented to the reader out of several thousand - why are the others not presented? Wouldn't it still be a poem, no matter how long? Why are the 231 literary giants unnamed? Why not a complete history of every object (and etymology of the words) mentioned in any poem? Why is compression important in a poem? Does it have to do with the celebration / lamentation of the fleeting? Or would an attempt at comprehensiveness expose, upon examination, all that was forgotten or deemed insignificant in that poem? How to celebrate or lament comprehensively if there are omissions? Can there be such a thing as general elegy - doesn't the capacious live on, immortal, despite parts (though these parts be counted in the billions) that fall away?

AHB: I think the body of work inhales the entire possibility of _______. characters come and go, but even the fleeting built something. I may be infinitesimal, it may be many. This discussion lets me bring up something on my mind. We have a collaboration together, which is I think 4+ years running now, correct me if I'm wrong. I don't even have a tally of page count, but safely it is hundreds of pages. Will it end? Can it partly end? My questions arise from the sense of fleetingness. Characters appear thru out the thing (yclept “Monster”). Other characters make brief appearances. Doesn't, as you say, the capacious live on? What is the life of this work that you and I know, and few others? It's been noted that of the famous great long works of modernism and post-mod, only Zukofsky managed to finish his. Do you think your questions above relate at all to that fact? can we finish “Monster”, and should we???


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