Monday, September 27, 2004

I'm back from another amazing weekend, not with Louis Zukofsky but with relationship guru Harville Hendrix. Yes, Emily and I spent the weekend at Omega, an incredibly beautiful "holistic education provider" in Rhinebeck, New York. No one is more skeptical than I about the self-help industry and gurus great and small, but we had an amazing time in this couples' workshop and learned a tremendous amount about ourselves and each other. And you know, the two weekends are not entirely without intersections. Hendrix's Jung-influenced notion of the Imago (a composite image of your parents or caretakers superimposed over your partner) puts the major emphasis for a healthy relationship on clear and separate boundaries; that is, on respecting the Other. And he sees a direct connection between developing a genuine, nonjudgmental relation to the Other that is your partner and the other Others in the world; he believes that a new form of marriage, based not upon the self (that is, choosing someone who you believe will fulfill your needs) but upon the relation to the Other, will also lead to a freer, more joyful, and more democratic world. It reminded me of how Zukofksy's global vision for liberation (through the lenses of Marx and Spinoza) is holographically reproduced in his vision of how the family unit should operate (of course, some disagree that his vision of the family was liberatory). Zukofsky moved from the outside in but sustained an ideal of fuller and more joyful (more musical?) being throughout; Hendrix reverses that idea. The notion that healing yourself and your relationship will inevitably lead to healing the larger world has a lot of appeal for me, though there's also a cranky old man in my head rocking in his chair and muttering "Damned hippies!" under his breath over and over. Anyway, we had a wonderful time and we're feeling closer to the sources of our love for each other than we have for a long while.

Pleased to come home and find a beautiful little chapbook, Brian Teare's Pilgrim, in the mailbox. It was published by a little press in Berkeley, palOmine. If you can find a copy pick one up; here's one of the poems:
Errant : Reply.

You are here now infernal beneath the meadow's far hem : do you want it to go on, this life a screed of signs, this struggle under the slumber of everything : you have tunneled this far : there is, isn't there, a language entirely wakeful, you ask : because all you left behind has dreamt of it
I also got a nice card from Ben Friedlander along with some more CDs of Pound's radio rantings. Since we talked about our pastoral project at the Z conference, I was amused to see he'd found a postcard with a photo of lava from Mt. Etna destroying a village in Sicily. (Sicily of course being the setting for the Idylls of Theocritus.) He advised me that whatever my anxieties, I was already a member of the "poetry family" (a better phrase, he thinks, than "poetry world"). To my ears that has a slightly sinister Sopranos-esque ring; but thanks all the same, Ben. I appreciate your kindness.

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