So... I guess when I think about my own long poems & what I have tried to do, I fall somewhere in between the paths laid out by Crane & Eliot -

since I tried to carry on with Crane's affirmative-visionary stance, yet I share, in certain ways, Eliot's faith.

My whole poetry life has oscillated between, & tried to integrate, faith & imagination, faith & poetry - since the days of the "Shakespeare ghost" (1973).

& since it was my response to Mandelstam which set in motion the terms of that synthesis, he has remained the key to the "plot" of my long poems.

So... if somebody ever takes the trouble to read, seriously, Stubborn Grew, and The Rose, & the other things, they will find out what I am talking about. (All handy over there at Lulu !)

It has to do with seeing poetry as one door to inward or spiritual renewal, & the renewal of time & history in that light. & it has to do with an interpretation of faith which is in most ways diametrically opposite the stance taken by Eliot & Tate & the other conservative religionist-poets.

If you look into my long poems, you'll see a "ghost dance", where the impulses & writings of Whitman, Melville, Twain, Poe (& others) are aligned with those of Crane, Mandelstam, Berryman (& others) to represent a sort of symbolic "epic America-Russia" (RUS-US), rooted in Crane's, Melville's & Whitman's awareness and acknowledgement of the American Outcast as the spiritual key to America. Where Eliot & Tate experience their faith as a kind of spiritual hierarchy, separating them from modern life, I understand the Biblical tradition as a prophetic framework, or verbal model, for human equality and mutuality. (Melville's Ecuadorian doubloon nailed to the mast of the Pequod; Mandelstam's "gold coins of humanism".)

But my long poems have yet to be read & taken seriously, I guess. I went into a tunnel for about 8 years in order to prepare for & write them. So that made it more difficult for me to write short poems, or interact, as poet, in the magazine culture.

"Time flowers on the lips of whispered clay." That's how it starts.

No comments: