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?


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