Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Reading Raworth. Noticing that I read him as much for the arc of his development -- the narrative -- as for the sparks of each work.
'take this' he murmured as registration slipped and i fell out of the postcard. 'this' was a remote control unit with one button labelled different light.
I'm up through Lazy Left Hand. Sometimes it feels as though I'm reading the impatient valedictorian of the Creeley Preparatory School -- an impossible frisson in every series study -- and other times I can't tell him from Rod, Lee Ann or Miles (who are usually pretty distinguishable from each other).

After the early books I'm not finding what I've shorthanded elsewhere and often as gorgeous language -- suddenly given a moment of patience with myself I want to analyze that phrase. Usually it indicates concrete nouns, adjectives for color, shape, and size, polysyllabics clustering around a few common consonants; often there are unexpected subordinate clauses. Rilke, Hopkins, Blake, Pasternak, and O'Hara come to mind, but wouldn't that scotch the belief that it's first and foremost concrete nouns? I mean except for O'Hara.

Oh the perils of building a poetics on the littoral. (Opposite of concrete.)

So I'm noticing that Raworth rejects this kind of gorgeousness in favor of something more exciting -- speedy, electrical. And what do we mean by electrical. Tiny linguistic/frame jokes. Tuttle. Resisting attention, or rather, pushing it along. Whereas the gorgeous intends to absorb attention, even, uh, retard it.

What I'm reading for in the Raworth is the moment he breaks from the Creeley series (two to six line observations joined at the asterisk) to the characteristic Raworth monostichic. I want to understand what makes his line sufficient.

Electrical because enjambed almost to the breaking point (as Mike Snider says, when the line ends with the)?

A continual feeling of holding my breath/catching it.

Headache from the hour at the tax preparer's. At home, not out hearing a reading, not record shopping in the rain, purchasing a hamburger, looking at a rainy baseball field over a beer, or stir-frying rice noodles. Ugh. I hate taking care of myself!

Jordan - #




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