Commentaries - May 2012

Martine Bellen's 'The Vulnerability of Order'

An interview with Martine Bellen

Episode #40 of CCP was entitled “The Contemporary Logos,” a title borrowed from an essay by Fanny Howe, the first guest for the show. That conversation was transcribed many years back and published in Jacket (issue 28). In Fall 2011 Evergreen student Samantha Siciliano had a chance to transcribe the second half of that key program: an interview with poet Martine Bellen on her book of that year The Vulnerability of Order, published by Copper Canyon Press. I'm happy to be able to present that interview here. Certainly one of the preoccupations of CCP has been the use of “spiritual” vocabularies in the act of making poetry (without any quotation marks around the poem).

Leonard Schwartz: Martine Bellen is the author of numerous collections of poetry including most recently, The Vulnerability of Order published by Copper Canyon Press. The Vulnerability of Order according to Ann Lauterbach “...Brings to contemporary poetics an acute, agile intelligence revealed in a dazzling array of linguistic orders, as vulnerable as they are powerful. Her inquiry into the nature of spirit is informed by arcs of interlocking knowledge, from a variety of religious practices to biographical incidents in the lives of seven heretical women.” Welcome, Martine Bellen.

Four recordings of William Carlos Williams performing 'The Red Wheelbarrow'

  1. Read January 9, 1942 (0:11): MP3
  2. Read for the Library of Congress, May 5, 1945 (0:15): MP3
  3. Read on an interview for the Mary Margaret McBride Show, December 4, 1950 (0:08): MP3
  4. Read at Princeton University, March 19, 1952 (1:42): MP3

Five recordings of William Carlos Williams performing 'This Is Just to Say'

  1. Read in Rutherford, NJ, June 1950 MP3 (1:18)
  2. Read in Rutherford, NJ, August 1950 MP3 (0:17)
  3. Read in Van Nuys, Calif., November 16, 1950 MP3 (0:23)
  4. Read at Harvard University, December 4, 1951 MP3 (1:14)
  5. Read at Princeton University, March 19, 1952 MP3 (0:41)

Lost at Sea

uncollected Robert Creeley poem for May Day


Concerning a news item which reported
convicts breaking their own legs with
sledges, because they couldn't take any
more the treatment they were getting... 

All pull together now
because we're going to make it
over to that other
far side.

Don't cry, there'll be people
all around us, not the least thought
of any more being bothered,
or harassed by outsiders.

We'll all be in
there, fighting, we'll all sing
it and swing it,
a crazy night most assuredly.

 And when it's over, morning
will break on the beach
like a leg breaks
when a man can bring himself to hit it with a hammer.