11 may. 2011

The Minimal Gesture

You grow with a poet. I was reading Creeley at 15 and at 50 I still am reading him. His work has grown with me. As I get more subtle in my thought, get to be a better reader, Creeley gets better too. He is not a writer to be left behind. If you knew him only at the level of English-department comprehensive exams, say, you would think of the early work about domestic difficulties, the association with WCW, and leave it at that.

It is easy to dismiss the apparent slightness of gesture, the understatement, as a mere abdication of responsibility or as a self-indulgent descent into triviality. I imagine the horror of Simic at realizing that Creeley had written so much. A Collected Poems, in two volumes, of a writer known for his brevity and early anthology pieces. A nice man (in his later days) who had some "interesting ideas about literature." It never occurred to him that a writer like Creeley teaches you how to read him. If you are just looking for the 50 pages of lyric condensation, you might be making a mistake. Of course, Creeley does have that 50 pages (actually much more than that), but he also has the throw-away poems.

I'd compare him to Morton Feldman if I had more time and energy today.

1 comentario:

Vance Maverick dijo...

A name I'd forgotten to mention before, along the lines of "uptown music relevant to Feldman": György Kurtág. When he goes minimal, it's really short.