Sunday, July 21, 2013


A personal epoch shift began when I read Bolaño (specifically Last Evenings on Earth, The Savage Detectives, and By Night in Chile) and discovered a dual doorway (poetry as subject for fiction; narrative as vehicle for poetry) outside what had come to seem my suffocating and provincial identification with U.S. poetry. Now I read Latin American and European literature (mostly fiction) and my American poetry reading is mostly rereading (Olson, Duncan, Ashbery, Notley), and I feel myself inoculated against the anxious white male melancholy of Edmundson, et al. So much of what I read is preoccupied with the literary as such, proposes literature as adventure (which includes risk, which includes destruction). I am out of step with the contemporary: I don't watch many films any more, I don't listen to pop, the last TV show I cared about was Lost. I love and live by the written word, am traversed by it. Every minute I spend alone that I don't spend reading or writing seems lost. I am literary to my bones, a twentieth-century animal. That's how it is.

Next year will be a banner year for me, publications-wise. In May 2014, Spuyten Duyvil will publish my first novel, Beautiful Soul. In September or October of that year, Omnidawn Publishing will bring out my fourth full-length collection, The Barons and Other Poems. It may be time to emerge from the privacy of not-blogging. That might seem a strange thing to say, since I post pretty regularly on Facebook or Twitter. But this blog has been my public "face" for ten years. I can delete it, or I can show myself and see what appears. A return (like the key on an old typewriter), not the return.

You want the new. You want controversy and the leaping of flames. I want to write my way out, to write my way in. The past has never felt more alive.


Mary Courtley said...

"I want to write my way out, to write my way in" - This speaks to me and is essential, I think, to understanding oneself, something I tried to get across to my own Creative Writing students.

Archambeau said...

If we substitute the shabby and declining world of poetry blogging for the shabby and declining New York public schools of the seventies, this would be the appropriate song for your reappearance:

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