4 nov. 2007

Just when I thought of Creeley as sentimental I come across

"Between what was
and what might be
still seems to be
a life"


"Gods one would have
hauled out like props"


"When the world has become a pestilence..."

"the ridiculous small places
of the patient hates"

"Oh dull edge of prospect"

or maybe

"Shuddering racket of
air conditioner's colder

than imagined winter.."

A rigorously unsentimental view of life, really. Not every poem is of the "magnitude" of Creeley's "major" early lyrics, the ones everyone knows.

But part of that is a sense of limitation, of measure. There are no easy epiphanies to be had.

Anyway, Creeley turns the idea of being "major" on its head, as in the poem "EPIC"

"Wanting to tell
a story,
like hell's simple invention, or
some neat recovery

of the state of grace,
I can recall lace curtains,
people I think I remember,
Mrs. Curley's face."

What is the yardstick? Can Creeley's Minimus Poems be "greater" than Olson's Maximus? Isn't funny how greatness implies a sense of scale, of sheer size? Like Creeley's poem for Berrigan that does acknowledge that size and scale of a different kind of writer...

What's the rap on Creeley?: domestic, trivial, self-indulgent, dull, no "images," or uninteresting ones, weak sense of narrative, stuttering, strained, limited and minimalistic--too "theoretical," too involved with the sense of writing itself. Yet each of many separate instances gives the lie to all that.

7 comentarios:

Andrew Shields dijo...

Your description of "the rap on Creeley" is, in a sense, right on target. He is all those things — but he makes a music out of those things that is incomparable.

"Epic" is so lovely, so beautifully *phrased*, after all, like "After" (the first lines of which I quoted in a comment to an earlier post of yours), that it renders all such criticisms moot.

Jonathan dijo...

"Lovely" is another of those Creeley words too! Like fact, insistent, particular, simple...

Joseph Duemer dijo...

And also, there is also a kind of dry quality to C's language that keeps it from cloying. And at the bottom of everything in Creeley is song, or at least the idea of song. I find the paradox between the dryness & the song fascinating.

JforJames dijo...

I don't disagree with anything you've said about Creeley's work. But why did Simic's rather mild rebuke of Creeley's poetics set off such paroxysms? Nothing Simic said hasn't been said before
in some way or another in criticism of Creeley's work. Must RC be a poetry saint beyond any besmirching?

Jonathan dijo...

It really wasn't all that mild. Basically he's saying that the period from 1975-2007--32 years of work, is trivial and dull. This from a supposed "friend" of Creeley.

Second of all, it shows the way in which an organ of the stature of the NYROB treats a figure of the stature of Creeley--a sponsor of innnovative poetry over the past 20 years. You know that Merrill or Lowell would not get similar treatment.

Judy dijo...
Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.
Judy dijo...

"Second of all, it shows the way in which an organ of the stature of the NYROB treats a figure of the stature of Creeley--a sponsor of innnovative poetry over the past 20 years."

Yup. Or is it yep?

That's exactly the problem with the NYRB.

I've been having some fun rearranging the letters in "Helen Vendler" and "Charles Simic" the last couple of days.