Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I probably should have mentioned here that the GutCult review I did is of Dan Beachy-Quick's Spell and Deborah Meadows' Itinerant Men. Also, I'd like to nod toward two intelligent additions to the organic/inorganic conversation that I've become aware of: one from Kasey and one from Jasper.

Ravished tonight at the bookstore by a new blog-on-paper, C.D. Wright's brand-new book Cooling Time: An American Poetry Vigil. Swallowable at a gulp, this is a rich and urgent meditation on poetry and its significance in a lifetime that inevitably reminds me at the present moment of Hugo's Triggering Townѿbut it's much more like Alan Davies' Candor, an enticing, often erotic blend of daythoughts and nightthoughts and commentaries on other poets and artists and more than a few actual poems. But she's earthier or maybe riper than Davies, and far more self-consciously a poet of place (Arkansas of course but also San Francisco, New York, and Providence). The motive force appears to be that unkillable question, What is poetry for? She answers it in dozens of ways. Here are a few aphorisms I've extracted from her text:
My purpose is neither to hack away at the canon nor to contrive a trend.

We come from a country that has made a fetish if not a virtue out of proving it can live without art: high, low, old, new, fat, lean, and particularly the rarely visible, nocturnal art of poetry.

it is about how differently things actually play out if you come and go by different portals, long live la difference; as for transcendence, well baby, that is the sun's job.

Alliances raise important questions regardless of whether they propose palatable solutions. Enemies are energizing but that fuel is short-lasting.

I do not know if I am trying to do something new, but I know that I am trying to learn something new. The doors fling themselves open.

Never deprive the reader of opportunities for multiple exgeses.

I am not convinced poetic camps serve the purpose of nonassimilation as well as they purport. I think they just put more heavy-handed poetry cops on the beat. They jump down your throat for commingling and they jump down your throat for having a good time and learning a new step and they jump down your throat for moving a few rocks out of your way. I have always acceded to poetry as a free space. "I'll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours." Bob Dylan said that.

Only the hermetically aimed has a snowball's chance in hell of reaching its intended ears. One proceeds from this realization.

Some of us do not read or write particularly for pleasure or instruction, but to be changed, healed, charged. Therefore, the poet's amplitude may take precedence over her strategies.

Poetry is not like, it is the very lining of the inner life. Poetry is both made and made available wherever there are leaks in the cultural works.

The great barrier of objectivity, it is the banal standard of professionalism.

As an admittedly defensive measure I have taken to my stony, garreted art for partisan relief—for some insistence upon a full life.

My story is not important, but odd like horses lying down.

Poetic theories and applications line up with pedigree in disturbing yet ever-changing degrees. Be that as it may, poets can still be counted on to stand nearly as one against the abjectification of contemporary experience.
There's much more that's worth quoting, but I'm probably verging on copyright infringement at this point. It's a nourishing book; I am refreshed by it. I hope it gets a readership both wide and long.

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