Monday, June 09, 2014


JH: When writing a poem, I can only think of that particular poem; thoughts of its publication or its inclusion in an ideal collection follow. Can I say that when I write an Actaeon poem it is as though I never wrote an Actaeon poem before, when there are recurrences of phrases? I cannot tell whether these recurrences are intentional, whether I have my prior Actaeon poems in mind. Do you keep drafts of a poem in mind when you are writing that poem? It is hard for me to ascertain whether I keep drafts in mind; if I do it is fleeting, as I typically write a poem in one day, in one sitting; I know, thanks to the drafts, what to avoid and what to approach. The difference between drafts and poems in a series is a poet may revisit poems and phrases within the construction of a series, whereas in an individual poem the drafts are lost unless appended to the finished, decided poem.
As far as the preservation and presentation of my Actaeon poems, perhaps a chapbook of the 16 poems. I could also include those 16 poems as a section in a collection of my poems.

AHB: I just hope your Actaeon poems are given a wider broadcast. I don't want to read poetry written to serve publication. Such will only be crowded onto a tippy pedestal.

I don't really have drafts of poems anymore. I write, reach a place where the poem says it is done, then fuss with it, most often in one sitting. Changes are made by overwriting. Whatever is overwritten is gone. I don't fear losing anything as I overwrite. A poem is an instant.

I don't mean to denigrate a sustained and formal rewriting process. My own poetry writing process demands that I surprise myself. This actually shows more clearly in the reviews and ruminations that I put on my No Awardwinning blog Tributary (www.tribute-airy, Word choices appear that I didn't expect. In my poetry, disjunctive slips and leaps radiate the poem that I write. A poem is a momentary breeze or whatnot. It is not something I can fix, but only honour by writing it down.

Your writing has changed much over the years, as I have been witness to. Has your reading changed?

Friday, May 16, 2014


JH:  A poem can make much of a word that would not be large on its own, and a word can enlarge a poem. In the latter case, this enlargement is often temporary, historical. Grand themes do not necessarily make for grand poems. How grand a poem is when all the words tower! Rhythm is getting all the words to stack up.
As a reader, I want every poem that a poet has written, along with drafts. As a poet, I want only what works well within a totality. Just as a poem is a totality (and I would not want my drafts appended to a finished poem of mine), a book is a totality, and I would not want a book of mine to have poems that would be appended to that totality. There are 16 Actaeon poems in this ideal totality, but I could add poems that I have yet to write, as I don't think that the poems I've selected move toward a point where the 16th poem must be read as the final poem.

AHB: Emily Dickinson kind of did want her drafts appended to the finished poem. Or, speaking of her fascicles, she allowed for alternate word choice. I see drafts as separate poems. Myself, I don't really have drafts. With the computer, I make changes, and the previous is gone. Word processors allow for the retaining of drafts but I do not bother.

When I worked on typewriter, I used to number drafts. And I would retype for the merest change, even the correction of 'h' before 't' in 'the' . In Three Poems, Ashbery ponders putting everything in, or not. You can make a case, either way. As the writing goes, do you at all strive towards the published article? The Internet allows for things to get out there, but the Internet is a field of niches and a squandering of scope. What I mean is, do you plan for an Actaeon for the ages?

Thursday, May 08, 2014


JH: A fragment speaks for itself. What, then, does the indicated missing text do? A poem can stand apart from historical context, biographical data, drafts, and commentary. Can a poem stand apart from itself? When it is a fragment, it can (and, one could also say, when it is a translation). What about a series? What if we had only one or two of Rilke's Orpheus sonnets, or only a few of the poems in Leaves of Grass? For that matter, what if we are missing -- and I'm sure that we are -- one or two sonnets that Rilke could have included in The Sonnets to Orpheus, or a few poems that Whitman could have included in Leaves of Grass?

There are 16 of my Actaeon poems that I would want preserved in a totality. These 16 Actaeon poems would be in a particular order. The rest of my Actaeon poems (I've written about 100) would not be practicable for this ideal book, though I have no problem with them individually.

AHB: I've always disliked anthologies that offer extracts from larger works. I guess the willful loss bothers me. It find it difficult to read a fragment as itself when one knows there is more. Yet each word has a life and conviction; each exists in totality beyond any fragment's existence. And yet, I imagine any lost Rilke Sonnet nonetheless influences those that we have. That is, Rilke's making of those lost poems created the possibility of the ones that followed.

I am thoroughly surprised that you would/could boil down the 100 to a mere 16. Is this a matter of winnowing and sifting, or did you always have a track in mind that the 16 fulfilled?

Tuesday, May 06, 2014


JH: The translation of six of my Actaeon poems into Spanish was not a collaboration, but the work of Diana Magallón, who also did the illustrations. Diana, a great poet and artist, contacted me and asked if she could translate some of my poems. When I agreed (enthusiastically!), she asked which poems did I want translated. I selected a few, and the result is on weeimage.
Are words timeless when they are not received, when they are seen but not read, or when they are read but not read carefully? Lacking a fuller presence than when they are received (received fully, or more fully), do they lack time? The time is all our own, the time is each person's. A poem that is timeless lacks something, if only time; but aside from time, this lack may be what is felt in the text of certain poems, that which is evoked but not expressed, that which, though behind the word, is not found in a dictionary.
What loads a poem with time? Is a poem that is not timeless ephemeral, a poem that dates? If not timeless, then historical?

AHB: Interesting that her name is Diana. I don't know what words do when not in use. I think of the ancient Greek poems, that we have almost entirely in fragment (which is a conflictive phrase, no doubt). Sappho's poetry (for us) exists in scrids, guesswork, and the opinion of those who had greater experience of it. Her words are largely gone but somewhere her poetry is an effective living power or energy. Her poetry, then, exists in time but as we now have it, her poetry has no time. But if the scifi novel came true, and someone Went Back in Time, and fetched her work in toto, her work would have a different time.

What loads a poem with time? The ocular presence of slang or reference. I guess. Francois Villon wrote a French that differed from the modern, and he used much slang tied verily to a time. Same goes for Shakespeare. Et al. Time as barrier tho needless to say, not impermeable. It's a matter of translation, which is a loss of immediacy. For me.

The translation by time is inevitable and perhaps confusing. Hugh Kenner explained the Shakespeare's phrase “the boys of summer” as referring to dandelions. Someone used the phrase as a title for a book, and now it brings to mind Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers now reside in LA, where no trolley cars need to be dodged. And we readers are left with the tracings of intersections. Ah, well!

The latest poem I have seen by you is “Parthenius”:

Actaeon, could the hart speak; Parthenius, could the fount. The hounds, they know their names, and cannot give them. And what name would the bather give? The bather... Parthenius, I believe.

* * *

I have yet to research the name Parthenius, but it almost doesn't matter. Your Actaeon poems seem like multidimensional extensions of the figures on some Grecian urn. Do you have a sense of presentation of these gems beyond messages on a listserv? I have suggested cards a la Robert Grenier's Sentences.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


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,
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.
Down the rain of all my days the deer steps.

Monday, March 31, 2014


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


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.