[Taken from G. Green, PoemsofaMolecatcher’sDaughter, Palores Publications, Editor Les Morton, Cornwall, UK; reprinted in PoemsandsPoetics (December 19, 2011) as an addendum to OutsiderPoems:AMini-AnthologyinProgress.]
Sal Madge lived down Rosemary’s lonnin’ Sal Madge wuz a Gippo Sal Madge wuz dirty Sal Madge Sal Madge wi’ ‘er pipe an’ her spittin’ Sal Madge wi’ her singin’ ditties her bratful o’ coal she’d gathered from’t beach down by t’docks at Whitehevven. Sal Madge wuz a wanderer
[Originally a talk at a panel on canonicity (Jessica Pressman, Brian Reed, & Bob Perelman) at University of California, San Diego, organized by Michael Davidson, Feb 2013.]
Now that I'm 65 I can ride Philly buses free. That's the good news. The more 'interesting' news is that the balance of homeostasis and desire has become a surprisingly touchy question. Keeping things the same is suddenly attractive, quite attractive, impossibly attractive. All my writing life I've learned that semantics are open-ended, but I'm starting to get the feeling that some words will turn out to have only one meaning, which is a novel and not a totally pleasant thought. "Finite" is one of those words. I don't in fact know what its one meaning is, but extraneous hypotheses are getting shorn away daily, even hourly, which I suppose is progress.
In one sense the question of canons in poetry seems decidedly old-school. It brings back memories of the 1980s -- Marjorie Perloff's "Can(n)on to the Left of Us, Can(n)on to the Right of Us," Jerome Rothenberg's "Harold Bloom: The Critic as Exterminating Angel," Charles Bernstein's "The Academy in Peril: William Carlos Williams Meets the MLA" -- when the battle map was in crisp focus. That was when O'Hara's poetry could be compared to a small electric fan blowing out crepe-paper streamers, when Stein was a hoax, when Language writing was a dismissible fad, when Williams meant wheelbarrows.