23 sept. 2007

In the course of my research this week I have seen figures like Donald Hall, William Stafford, and David Ignatow listed under the "deep image" label. I am scratching my head a bit. These poets mostly practice a flat, dull realism that has little to do with any understanding of the "deep image," whether in the Bly/Wright camp or the original Rothenberg/Kelly deep image school. The definition seems very nebulous in any case. You can't expect a clear definition of a fundamentally fuzzy concept, I guess.

And Graham Foust... Who died and made him Billy Collins? I think he's vastly overrated. Since when did mere competence make you great? That poem about the Huffy bike is something anyone could have done.

3 comentarios:

Joseph Duemer dijo...

I think there may be a case for Ignatow as deep image, broadly defined, but not Stafford & definitely not Hall. Staffoed probably gets included because he likes the word "dark." I don't think Stafford's realism is always flat or dull, though. There is probably a pretty good Selected Poems hiding in the Collected Poems of William Stafford.

Jonathan dijo...

Ok. "usually flat and dull," not "always flat and dull." Stafford to me is the poet without qualities. I never understood why he was supposed to be any good. I'm allergic.

JforJames dijo...

I think there is an aspect of the shamanistic in deep image poetry, since the 'deep image' often is drawn from the natural world and touches on what has been called archetype.

I agree that Stafford is not a poet one would associate with deep image. But he does have a large number of poems that involve invoking the 'spirit' of the natural world in a way that might be called animistic or shamanistic—


Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden, and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.