I certainly love music and musicians, but I think I love painters even more. Why? It seems more awkward, excruciating and difficult (maybe because I am more of a musician myself). It seems even more anti-verbal than music. Painters are famously inarticulate, no matter that they are makers of signs, semioticians par excellence.
My 60-odd year career in poetry swamp might possibly subsist on a few basic touchstones - patterns which survive the various zigs & zags of enthusiasm & commitment. One of these touchstones is ut pictura poiesis.
My mother in her heyday was mainly a painter, a potter, a maker of images. & also a reader & a storyteller (to children such as myself).
Three poets who quickened me most surely & steadily : Guillaume Apollinaire, John Ashbery, Osip Mandelstam.
Painting the image. The sonic image. The mysterious fanfare.
I feel very strongly that the contemporary whatnot scene, the global blabbateria & confessional cannibal-fest, the photo-shoot, the selfie-group love-yogurt hut, the total hug machine & forthright commitment speechification party, the holy us-v.-them war, has very little to do with poetry, no matter how much it has to do with humanity. Ut pictura poiesis in this environment is a way of stepping back a little. The otherness will jar slightly with your Community Jar - but without otherness there is no togetherness, right? Every schedule needs a goat. I am the goat.
Telling it slant. Telling it so slant you don't get it. You just gonna have to look & listen for a while, like Oblomov lying in a Russian wheatfield. Life is larger than Tolstoy, according to Tolstoy.
You are not going to "get" my poetry, America. Summer is here. Go jump in a lake.
The gray underside of these
dogwood leaves, clustered
over my head. The blistered,
lingering pussy willow. Evening’s
repose à Providence, which I
must exit before long.
Into the slough I’m diving...
weedy heartland (lake country).
Roger Williams’ apple-root,
Blackstone’s Yellow Sweeting
will remain. A meeting
at Swan Point – starry circuit,
milky wheel (Pappy’s birthday
pivots on your mother’s
grave). Some Vladimir’s
renunciation – icon of clay
starfish, her lambswool tracery
around a baptistry –
Boethius in ecstasy
after the rack is rolled away.
Uncle Henry weaves his spiderweb
out of one gold strand
of maidenhair. Trebizond
cell for Guillem, Maximus – ebb-
tide for violence, with violins.
A child skips over granite.
djinn, dynamic Virgo (mason’s pin).
MRG, painter, potter