22 March 2013
To Friends Who Write
Dear Friends (You Know Who You Are),
...in search of recognition...in a world where your work is a "one in many" "face in the midst of the crowd" "still small voice"...you are lost. In what flows from hot to cold to make engines turn, we are the dissipate leavings.
And it's not surprising, but surely dispiriting. As I looked at your poems I grew more impressed, more interested. That is the best I can say. And the best, really, I think I can do, is to be an eager reader...waiting and wanting more from you.
That is what I want in a reader...well, just that A READER. That is the "community" we want. Appreciation from one reader...and then one more, and then another, and then...well you see the problem.
Imagine...I am only now waking up to Williams as a man of fierce intelligence but also of fierce ambition and fierce need.
As I hold Williams-as-written in my mind, in my ears, in my hands (tangible love) I realize that publishing in 1920 is STILL small. Still a community. Still easily divided among small numbers of writers we label members of "schools." There are poets, great and good, who just want to be loved (and hated) by one another and to stand in time next to other names. To be named! And also, bed Mina Loy...who deserves so much more than that from me here now...but there it is.
We have no more great poets because the acquisitive mind has co-opted the world and poetry is CONTENT--and content, really, turns out to be irrelevant. And that is a warp and weft of its own devising. Realizing that poets both love and hate Williams, that the public knows one poem and makes gleeful "get it" fun out of another; realizing that the world does not know any of Williams really as you can't know the wheelbarrow outside of its home in its book where it carries a quantity of uncertainty as payload.
As I hold Williams I hold a book Spring and All that is nearly 100 years old. This corresponds with Williams holding onto Shelley's Triumph of Life. Or even my holding onto Auroras of Autumn like Williams holding onto the 1850 Prelude or the barbaric Leaves of Grass. Who is the Ashbery who springs into life at the death of Stevens? Who is that Ashbery? He seems volcanic of the undigested being, but who am I to judge? What is true is that monuments are made while moments are lost.
We have exploded and are only pieces, are one in pieces, unbounded in our bond.
Trunks like Shelley like Whitman are surely only branches though with great circumference. You and I are nearly forced to be the ideas of leaves hoping to bud into existence on a fruitful fruiting branch not fruited. Still to grow juicy and even sweet which is a product of dry seasons so we may fall in the autumn and be usefully dead for the great continuing Yggdrasil.
Or something like that...something more than paper recycled for bodily use.
But if so so.
As ever, your friend,