17 sept. 2008

(116)

Cid Corman. And the Word. 1987. 135 pp.

Corman's is a secondary but necessary voice.

I can no
more eat for
than die for

you but Bill's
plums still taste
good to me.


The charm depends wholly on the secondariness, the two WCW poems standing behind as intertext: I have eaten the plums that were in the ice box and to an old woman eating a bag of plums. The taste good to her they taste good to her they taste good to her. Corman can be so tonally and prosodically derivative of Williams sometimes that it's almost embarrassing:

... not

the sweetest
labor but
flavor of its own.


Since he plays for my team am I obligated to like him? If he is sentimental so is Creeley. Recognizing in the abstract that he is a skillful writer I have to say for myself I have never really liked a Corman poem to the point of passion. He's no Johnny Hodges, but then few poets rise to that level. Let's call it the Johnny Hodges test.