JH: I don't think of purity when writing a poem, though when writing lyric poetry I try to follow the poem's unfolding as a poet while contributing little to nothing as a writer. The less writer and the more poet in a poem, the more that poem gestures toward purity. In "Of The Coronation", the word "the" was not called to the first sentence, but it was called to the second sentence. The words "the" and "this" are called as much as "Scylla" and "Actaeon". The names "Scylla" and "Actaeon" are instances of expansive reference, which is a reference to mythology, history, or literature, fields where a name or phrase attracts many other names, phrases, treatments, and commentaries. This, like the polysemy of words that aren't proper nouns, allows an inclusiveness that would thwart purity were multivalence not a facet of poetry. A poet's receptivity to poems can resemble method, a poet's approach to poems. Style is a poet's receptivity. Style is immediacy, the way some people can read English at a glance and others cannot. One can write, through habit or will, a certain kind of poem for years and then, in a day, receive one's style from a very different kind of poem. Was style present, unfinished and inaccurate, among the sentences or lines of one's poems outside one's receptivity? If so, is this seen only in retrospect, or does detection precede receptivity? Indeed, your poems are without excesses of manner. An example of your stylistically exact, which is to say pure, poetry is "Stage One", recently posted to Wryting-l:
Robert Grenier is a relevant undertow, and Robert Lowell is a causation while limp. Or pine is a memory of non-pine, on a beachhead, with news from Elizabeth Bishop. Meanwhile, a telltale romance develops with numerous words organized as hash marks in the stadium. Definite impulse, throne room, a buttress or two. We read these maps, camouflage.
You are the flock that stays, says Lowell to Bishop.
Could you speak of this poem, please?
AHB: I was much mastered by the reading that I did. This is not unusual in the young writer, but it took me a long time to free myself from those explicit sensations of impact from other writers. Robert Grenier, my teacher (for one year), is indeed a relevant undertow for me. He was whence I learned of the writers that would influence and inspire me. Thru him, Olson, Creeley, Stein, etc. And I struggled to obey the instructions from those writers. But the point is not adherence to their rules, it is to find my own. I feel that I have.So if my work really seem without excess of manner, it is because I learned not to value manner. Hence, I suspect, my antipathy towards Robert Lowell. On my blog, I give thought to Lowell’s manner. I think his poetry depended on manner.
Someone who could have seemed mannered, but never did, was HD. Her invocation and evocation of ancient Greece is so immediate. Which is exactly how I feel about your poetry, which lately has hearkened muchly to Greek myth. So much so that the reference to The Sorceror’s Apprentice (and its suggestion of Mickey Mouse) natheless sounds a pure seeming ‘ancient note’.
A lyrist makes of absence a hound. His pack of hounds increasing, is this Actaeon more accurately likened to Marsyas or The Sorcerer's Apprentice? What challenge in sight, what lyric -- exultations, these, or queries?
I do not know how you capture this ancient sense.