Susan Bee and I went to Ian Hamilton Finlay and Sue Finlay's "Little Sparta" while we were in Scotland earlier this month. No manner how many pictures I had seen, nothing prepared me for the this work as and in its environment.
Conditions change so fast on the ground and yet we are walking receivers of traditions that defy objective temporal markers. Poems mark an intersection of the new, the news, and something outside that pressure of reality, something that resists such presence. The more resistant they are to the present, the more a perfect voicelessness emerges.
I wrote the Foreword to this anthology, just published by Diálogos Books of Lavender Ink ISBN: 978-1-935084-08-6 // 7"x10", 560 pages: $29.95 ••• We come old into a world newly born.
A great inspiration, radical model, dearest friend, and ever an iconoclast.
David Antin was one of the great American poets of the postwar period, transforming both the practice of poetry and the essay. His “talk poems” are chock full of startlingly philosophical insight, compelling autobiographical turns, and bursts of comic genius. His work is the record of a person thinking out loud, weaving narratives on the fly, and making poems that are as engaging as they are wise.
Around the turn of the century, a poet working at the Poetry Society of America asked me to do her, and PSA, a favor, and meet with the PSA board president, a businessman named William Louis-Dreyfus. The idea was that his taste in poetry was too conservative even for PSA and that perhaps I could open his ears a bit on that score.
I read this last night at the Poetry Project memorial for Ted Greenwald.
He is gone now Taking his body with him When all the time I thought it was The beauty of his mind I loved ["Use No Hooks" in Common Sense]
I first met Ted Greenwald in 1975, in and around the Poetry Project. He was my guide to much of what interested me among the local poets: he never hesitated to say what he liked and didn’t in the poems and people around us. It’s not just that he didn’t suffer fools easily, but he was hilarious in skewing pretenses and false premises. We always had a good time talking, with my indirectness dancing with his blunt wisdom like two people doing the cha-cha on the point of a fountain pen.