Saturday, April 25, 2009

Form Problemata

(1) As Abraham packed his things for the journey to Mount Moriah, he considered what knife to select with which to slay Isaac. "It should be the best knife I have," thought Abraham. He found the knife he was looking for, featuring an intricately carved handle. As he weighed it in his hand he thought, "I am a vain and silly old man. What I do is for the Lord." And so he laid aside the decorated knife, and went into the stables and picked up the knife he used for all such occasions, the knife for sacrifice.

(1)(a)Form is the historical, not history.

(2) Once upon a time there was a young man who lived at the outer edge of a city, near the ocean. While he didn't visit the ocean often, he was conscious of its presence, as it lay in the one direction only his mind could travel. In time, he began writing poems, and in time, his poems assumed a form and shape not unlike a craft with which one might ply the ocean, or draw about oneself as protection from the ocean.

(2)(a) Form is the person, not the people.

(3) In a democracy, you and I find each other through our efforts and the willingness of others to transmit others’ efforts. Payment is proscribed in a historically founded vein of transmission. In a similar vein, we say yes and we say no. Even with the years having passed and all the yeses and noes, we find each other through other’s willingness to transmit what we say for some kind of compensation: and understanding, or fee.

(3)(a) Form is the poem, not poetry.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Then, Pendleton

I hope to publish another book someday soon, within a few months, let's say. It would be my thirteenth manuscript. I should review my publishing, which is I suppose part and parcel of what I do or who I am.

I pursued for years the standard procedure of sending out poems to magazines. Some got published. That process was never a pleasant one for me. Even publishing felt like an objective, material sort of pleasure. At the same time I became aware that I would not pursue teaching, etc., and that a did not enjoy giving readings, and that most poetry bored me to tears (while all the time I was writing cohesively, producing the manuscripts I have now published) - so, in brief, at a certain point my dissatisfaction began to weigh on me until I could no longer write. After all, why should I when I had upwards of fifteen unpublished manuscripts?

The effect on a writer who feels compelled not to write is not a pleasant one. The solution occurred in order of obtaining a new computer, joining, joining Facebook, setting up this Blog. Lulu allows me to publish the manuscripts I write as I have proofed them and at the length and with the exact content and cover art as I want them to be. Facebook has provided a platform for friendship and for showing my work and learning about and interacting with other and related poetries. My blog is given over to personal essays which are tuned to issues of concrete formalist poetry, more or less: more if you are willing to believe that whatever I commit to words must be in some way related to my central concern in writing poetry; less, if you are looking for content that directly, rather than analogically, corresponds with concrete form-making.

The manuscripts have almost always surprised me. They have their tones, themes, characterizations. The current one I think of as being titled "Rodeo Poems" and so it should come as no surprise that there is so far no mention of rodeos, horses, the American West, etc. But I suppose a rodeo is an entertainment posing as a reenactment of a spirit of a place now lost, and so these poems are the work of a middle-aged poet, and so on and so forth. I hope the manuscript is not lost from surprise. One can always surprise the manuscript, of course, by deeming it complete. This one though, this one will finish in August, I believe. Perhaps in time for the Pendleton Round-Up.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Read & Sleep

There are any number of subjects, and any quantity of objects. Of essences, we have a few, which produce an infinity of impression.

At an given point, allowing that we have a mind that can be brought to bear on a given object, governed within a particular subject, and as we stand still to receive our impressions, clearly - the sight of ourselves in such an array is itself dizzying, setting off fireworks.

And in this vein, we or what we do might be memorable. And in another vein, we cannot know or stand still to verify how that memory is or will be constituted. All poets might at some point appreciate baseball, where talent cannot pause to consider the myriad effects of hitting a ball out of the park.

If this is an economy, and surely it is an economy; and if this is a politics - and it must be; I hope it is gentle and purposeful, that is, I hope it can be applied to the benefit of the one applying it.