15 ago. 2007

What Emily describes in comment on post below as the "They Feed They Lion" effect. I felt it with Levine with this poem--when else did he ever manifest that degree of linguistic creativity? I loved James Tate in the Norton Anthology before his poetry began to go soft around the edges. I liked the Strand of "Eating Poetry" and "When I am in a field / I am the absence / of that field." Nothing can take away the experience of that youthful reading. It is unwise to condescend to one's former selves. I loved the Cummings of "If you can't smoke you gotta eat and we ain't got nothing to eat. Come on kid, let's go to sleep. If you can't eat you gotta dream and we ain't got nothing to dream. Come on kid, let's go to sleep." [all quotations from memory and guaranteed to be inaccurate] The Stevens of "The houses are haunted / by white nightgowns." The O'Hara of "The eager note on my door said call me, call me..."

That's still, for me, the best Stevens, the best Cummings, the best Levine, O'Hara, Tate, and Strand. Is it because I read those particular poems at a formative age? Can poetry ever be that good again, as when I was 14 or 15? Or can any other period of my life match that for discovery? That was the poetry going through my head. "May I for my own sake song's truth reckon, journey's jargon. Jersey Guernsey in sombre and illustrious weather. The small, yellow grass onion, spring's first green, precursor to Manhattan's sidewalks. I thought I saw a small bird. I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked. All in green went my love riding, on a great horse of gold, into the silver dawn."

Maybe there are only certain times when "the window is open." If the window is not open, you can still read poetry, or remember what you've read in the past, but there won't be new discoveries.

1 comentario:

Tom dijo...

Jeez, would that it could be that good again.

It's a drag when its all elaboration and criticism after that, and the windows are closed.

Tom King