Showing posts with label Larry Eigner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Larry Eigner. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

(note sale on The Collected Poems)

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Honoring the life & work of
Larry Eigner
Robert Grenier, Lyn Hejinian, Richard Eigner,
Rebecca Gaydos, Kit Robinson, Michael Davidson,
George Hart, Albert Gelpi, Hillary Gravendyk,
Jack & Adelle Foley, Norma Cole, & Robert Hass

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I have lived with the poetry of Larry Eigner for 45 years. He turned 33 in 1960, the year the Allen anthology was published (and where I first read his work five years hence). When I started gathering poetry for a journal that would become Tottel’s in 1969, he was one of the first writers whose work I solicited & we began a casual correspondence that lasted until he moved, amazingly, to my home town. The board-&-care home where he first resided in Berkeley in 1978 was just down the street from the apartment building I’d lived in when I’d written much of Crow, my first real book, eight years before.

I knew about the palsy, of course, and it was evident that his parents in Swampscott didn’t think to keep him supplied with adequate typing ribbons, so that he often resorted to “filling in” what was otherwise too faint to read in letters or on cards, save that his handwriting was minimal at best. I recall David Gitin telling me stories circa 1970 about poets showing up at his home only to discover that they could barely make out his speech but I didn’t really get it until he arrived in Berkeley & I thought to call him to set up a time to come visit. A telephone call was not the way to meet Laurence Joel Eigner, but somehow I managed to comprehend that he’d agreed to the time I’d proposed & so we finally met.

Larry had actually been generous enough to blurb Crow, and you can read his blurb, a note really, there among his Collected Poems – it’s entitled “b i r d s   d a n c e   c r o w” on page 1010 in volume III of Stanford’s monumental publication project, dated May 15, 1971.

During his not quite 18 years in Berkeley, Larry was mostly someone I would see at readings or at parties & I would find myself helping from time to time getting Larry & his wheelchair up the long steps to Canessa Park for the readings there. When the University Art Museum of Berkeley held a celebration of his work, mounting some lines of his work on the outside of the building, holding a reading in the auditorium, Kit Robinson & I did a show for the university radio station, explaining that Larry was not in any sense a disabled poet, but rather a great one who happened to have physical limitations.

And when Larry died in February of 1996, I was already living here in Chester County, PA, just about to move into the home from which I’m writing today. I had not yet been away from the Bay Area for nine months, but it was Larry’s death more than anything else that truly marked that breach for me. Looking at his collected poems some 14 years later takes me instantly back to that profound sense of loss I felt on learning that he was in Alta Bates Hospital & not expected to pull through.

All of which is to say, by way of preface, that this note today is unlikely to be all I’ll have to say about the four-volume Collected Poems, edited by Curtis Faville & Robert Grenier, two friends who likewise stretch some 40 years across the arc of my life.

But I’ve been asked six or seven times what I think about the “controversy” of the collection’s layout. And therein hangs a tale &, I think, a lesson.

When I first heard that Faville & Grenier planned to have the book published in Courier typeface, I wrote & asked each not to do it. I was very much fixated on the impact this decision made on Robert Duncan’s work. Publishing Ground Work: Before the War in courier so as to replicate as much as possible Duncan’s typescripts was one of three disastrous decision that Robert made – the other two being to hold off on publishing a book for a 14-year hiatus & making a poor choice in a literary executor – that took Duncan’s writing from being widely read & considered – even by the likes of Harold Bloom – as on a par with that of John Ashbery to becoming something of a footnote from the 1970s. One hopes that the efforts of Lisa Jarnot & Peter Quartermain, the first with her biography, the second having taken over the editing tasks of getting Duncan’s work back into print, will rescue that situation. But my immediate instinct was to imagine that this might be a disaster.

I was wrong. The editing decisions that Faville & Grenier, combined with the design work of Stanford University Press, have made this one of the richest & most readable collections that I own. Thumbing through the book in a store ought to be enough to persuade one of this, I should think, except for the fact that a four-volume set that can only be purchased in the aggregate (for the not inconsiderable price of $150) is not something you are likely to find anytime soon in your mall bookshoppe. No, this book is not perfect, and there certainly are issues that can be usefully discussed. But I’m not persuaded that the design of the volume is where one’s energy might be best spent.

Consider, just for a moment, the poem that figures on the book’s cover in each of the four volumes. On the first, we see just the initial couplet, calligraphy typewriters. On the second, the entire poem. On the third, the original page of Larry’s manuscript that includes a note that reads (circled by Larry’s pencil):

First 2 lines might be
a good title for a Col
lected Poems

On the final volume, we see the entire page of Larry’s master manuscript. (Click on the images above to expand each photograph.)

This sequence – initially Faville’s idea – communicates powerfully not just the materials as he & Grenier found them, but I think they also pose some of the key aspects of the decision-making in setting up this vast collection. First, that suggested title alone tells us Larry’s position on this issue – that spacing & visual presentation are critical in understanding his work. At 7.5-point type on a 12-point line, the Courier is readable throughout the work while maintaining the feel of the typewritten, and the uniform width of the letters that is essential to the presentation of these poems. By moving the majority of the texts left, Grenier & Faville have given themselves adequate room to incorporate Larry’s infrequent longer works that – like all his mature writing – sweep across the page as left-hand margins invariably stagger to the right. Any other decision would have generated a hodge-podge visually.

What Duncan got wrong that Grenier & Faville ultimately got right was an understanding that a book, as distinct from a poem, is an inherently collaborative project. Any compromises that have been made are to the advantage here of the reader, and it shows. F&G include some representative texts at the end of Volume IV (and an essay by Faville, “The Text as an Image of Itself”) that demonstrate the issues the editors faced in coming up with the visual presentation of the book. Could this have been done another way? Perhaps, but not nearly so well.

The real issues in this book are elsewhere. There are, as Steve Fama has noted, two poems that were inadvertently omitted, a remarkably low errata rate for a collection that is 1800 pages long, not including significant prefaces, appendices and notes. That amounts to a nit. One might argue for a less personal introduction at the start of Volume I, one aimed at unfamiliar readers. And I'm sure that the facsimile publication of a collection of poems from eighth grade at the start of the first volume will have its non-enthusiasts as well. I would have put it in an appendix.

But the larger question has entirely to do with distribution. At this size and this price, one cannot expect every young poet in America to rush out & buy the collection, even though they should. It’s aimed frankly at libraries, and at people who take their poetry very seriously. This gathering really shows the degree to which Larry’s reputation ultimately will have to rest on somebody producing a good Selected Poems, something that can be issued in paperback & used in a classroom, containing maybe just 500 of the 3,000-plus that are found here. That collection is going to be much harder to edit.

Eigner is hardly alone in this regard, we need a pocket Berrigan (beyond, that is, The Sonnets) & the fate of the selected Williams & Creeley volumes (or the competing O’Hara selecteds) all demonstrate how problematic such projects can be. But they’re necessary for the same reason that all the overlapping editions of Dickinson, Stein or Shakespeare are, because these are such important writers & figure so critically in defining who we are & can be. Until that volume, an Eigner for the masses, is available, tho, keep in mind that The Collected Poems of Larry Eigner is the most powerful & substantial book of this millennium – and this could still be the case a century from now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It took me a long time – seven years – to read Larry Eigner’s last works, readiness / enough / depends / on. Green Integer is the post-avant press least likely to send me a review copy of anything, and I never see its wares in bookstores unless I happen to be visiting Small Press Distribution in Berkeley. But the more important reason why it took me so long before I finally picked up a “hurt” copy in the Harvard Book Coop this past spring was that I dreaded “completing” my reading of Eigner’s oeuvre. If you were to list out the ten or twelve most influential poets in my life, Eigner would surely be on it. And after he moved to Berkeley in 1978 or thereabouts, he became more than a friend-by-correspondence. His death in early 1996 was the real hammer blow that let me know I didn’t live in the Bay Area any longer – Berkeley without Larry Eigner is simply a different city.

It’s no accident that In the American Tree is dedicated to Larry. His impact on my generation was enormous. While he’d originally become known in the 1960s as one of the Projectivist Poets – he’s included in the “Black Mountain” section of the Allen anthology, tho he never visited the college to my knowledge & certainly couldn’t have been scoring his own speech for the printed page, given the impact that cerebral palsy had on his capacity to form words – Eigner really was a philosopher of consciousness who used poetry almost architecturally to sculpt the most marvelous observations of the particular, even when he chose the simplest categorical terms to plot this out. There is one poem in this relatively slender volume that is perhaps the apotheosis of this approach to the poem. Like most of Eigner’s works, it has no title other than the date of its composition, “September 24 78”:






Five nouns, no waiting. It proceeds from the particular to a more general category – hills are a synecdoche for earth, and one might say further that sky performs the same role for night. But not really. We have shifted from the physical to the temporal. That shift is in fact one of the meanings of the final term clouds. What is the relationship between the observable and these larger categories in our lives? If sky leads us to night (or alternately day), where does clouds take us? What ultimately do clouds mean? Is there a storm brewing or are these the lollipop puffballs of a serene evening? Eigner doesn’t answer that question.

It’s not unreasonable for a person unfamiliar with Eigner’s work to counter, when they hear a reading like the one above, that I’m getting an awful lot from five of the blandest words in the English language. To which really the only answer would appear to be that if you read all of Eigner, all two or three thousand poems that have appeared in books & journals, that he would type into his letters (or, worse, write with the faintest of pencils – his penmanship was worse than his speech, and for the same reasons), you’d realize that this text above can’t really be read any other way. Eigner’s economy of vocabulary and means may have once been prompted by the physical challenges of his palsy, but I think he must have understood almost at once the limitless power of brevity. He is, as a result, the most exacting of poets – if a word is two spaces to the right, there is a reason for it. Nothing is casual here, even for a poem that can be read in fewer than five seconds.

This also accounts for the sometimes strangely torqued grammar that, for example, can be found in this book’s title. I’ve always thought of this as what Eigner learned from Charles Olson in much the same way that his conciseness owes a debt to Robert Creeley. The key term in that sequence is in fact its last: on. Readiness enough depends on. What is that state of dependency, of contextuality, that lurks in this preposition? It’s as tho these maximally taut first three terms were driving through that last one – it’s no accident that the syllable count here moves steadily downward: three, two, two, one.

I was surprised to discover that Larry wrote just six poems in the nine months after I moved to Pennsylvania, that he himself seemed to understand that his life’s project had completed. The final poem is a single line:

nice   and how many times

Written on November 17, it’s one of the rare ones with a title, “Might Gertrude Stein Lie Open to Criticism?” to which the poem sounds like a joke response until you start to allow all the possible meanings of nice to filter in, that extra space between it and the four remaining words all the punctuation in the world. To this Eigner appended a note which editor Robert Grenier proves wise enough to leave in: I guess this is / what I had, though / now, dec. 9, it / seems to be. This is indeed what Larry Eigner had at the end of a long and fruitful life. As you permit all the possible connotations from that last phrase – it / seems to be – rise up & drift away, you realize just how very much that was.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

I sat down with yesterday’s post to the blog from K. Silem Mohammad & Tom Orange & just listed the points to which I personally wanted to respond: my list came to three pages single spaced. It’s just not possible in blog form to approach anything with such obsessively pointillist detail, so I thought instead to group these sometimes disjunct ideas, each one of which could spark a more thorough discussion somewhere,  & came up with two intersecting axes of concern:

          My definition of abstract lyric – “bounded by modest scale and focused on the elements within”
          The role of “the social” within & around poetry, a question that has been raised by Louis Cabri & others
Hovering around these two axes I find a third key issue: the role of close reading & “bean counting” in thinking through issues of poetry. I want to approach this one first, because I think its implications impact what can be said about either of the other two.

Close reading’s association with the New Critics (NC) is often treated as grounds for distrust because of NC’s alignment with a reactionary aesthetic tendency in the United States – one that joined the poetics of the Southern Agrarians to those of the Boston Brahmans – but it is worth noting that key NC theorist René Wellek’s training in critical practice came through the Prague Linguistics Circle, founded in 1926 by a group of scholars that included Roman Jakobson & incorporated many of the tendencies that originated within Russian Formalism (& in relation to Russian futurist poets, from Mayakovsky to Khlebnikov). Unless one adopts the dual theory that (1) structural elements have inherent political biases – an argument that would be kin to an equation of, say, Poundian metrics with fascism &/or that (2) aspects of the Prague School itself were part of a larger historical drift of a rightward moving avant-garde, the way the Trostskyists of the 1930s New York Intellectuals transformed themselves into the Neocons of the 1970s (the history, say, of Partisan Review) – an argument that again puts close reading into a fundamental(ist) relation to a political tendency – then in fact one needs to look at the practice of close reading in the light of its materialist roots.

The process of bean counting – a phrase I really like, by the way – is predicated on the reality that beans exist. Signifying elements (that could be saying anything) actually are present & countable in a poem (as in a novel or any other social product). One major – and characteristic – failing of much bad critical writing (which is in fact most critical writing) is that, in literal terms, its practitioners don’t know beans. That is, they make sweeping generalizations that cannot be tested because if they could, their assertions would collapse from the weight of contradictory data. Again, let me pose the example of M.L. Rosenthal & confessional poetry. Rosenthal’s attempt to bind together disparate tendencies of poetry in an attempt to rescue the direct inheritors of NC’s aesthetic program from a fate it so richly deserved would fuel concepts such as Jim Breslin’s likening American poetry to a land of many suburbs, absent conflict & ultimately lacking shape & content, sort of a Columbine of the heart. Dana Gioia’s terribly incomplete (& too often inaccurate) social history of the institutionalization of poetry in “Can Poetry Matter?,” is merely that same argument presented with a Music Man exhortation for the masses to go out & buy trombones. Not coincidentally, many of the arguments made about langpo over the past three decades – that it is theory driven, humorless, anti-referential, anti-narrative, self-consciously difficult, etc. – are all disprovable simply by actually looking at what is there. So, yes, I will continue to favor the enumeration of beans. I think it’s the most materialist critical practice available, when used appropriately, & an excellent inoculation against all manner of mythology & self-interested hokum.

Kasey states that he is “skeptical about such designations as ‘social’ and ‘asocial’ as polarized ways of conceiving lyric formally.” That’s not precisely what I had said – although it is close to Tom Orange’s paraphrase – but the concept as such is worth pursuing. Tom’s own argument was rather the reverse: for him, a work that could be unpacked hermeneutically is less transgressive than one that resists by presenting an impenetrable surface of signifiers. It’s a logic by which Christian Bök’s Eunoia or the poetry of Sheila E. Murphy or Peter Ganick might be seen as more social than Louis Cabris’ The Mood Embosser, Barrett Watten’s Bad History or Bob Perelman’s The First World.

From my perspective, lyric is a formal category, neither a pejorative nor an adulatory term. There are lyric poets whose work is wonderful (Joseph Ceravolo, Kit Robinson, Barbara Guest, the Zukofsky of Barely and Widely) & there are lyric poets whose work would make any sensitive reader cringe (fill in the blanks). Contrary to Tom’s argument, however, I do not think that the capacity of a poem to be unpacked hermeneutically is by definition the determination of what is or is not a lyric. Rather, it is the poem’s sense of its own boundaries vis-à-vis the larger world. The New Critics’ passion for the lyric is separate from their own use of methodology to demonstrate why this or that lyric, this or that poet should be anointed. As I tried to demonstrate awhile back with the poetry of Bruce Andrews, any text can be unpacked through close reading – that is a condition of the reading mind, not something to which only some poets are subject to some of the time. Eunoia is as much subject to such a process as would be The Mood Embosser or Barbara Guest’s “Defensive Rapture.” What privileged the lyric for the New Critics was not any hermeneutic depth, nor any relation to personal expression, but rather the lyric’s sense of itself as aesthetically contained – “focused on the elements within” – which spared this genre entanglements with the social, a category that in the 1930s was at least as charged & problematic as it is today. It was containment precisely that enabled the New Critics to claim that they were reading only what was in the poem & nothing extraneous that might “pollute” the critique. Only lyric could thus verify their claim to be specialized – and hence professional – readers, the position that in turn enabled them between 1935 & 1950 to become the dominant power within American English departments.

Guest, on the face of her poetry, is clearly a lyric writer. That she elsewhere has been active in service to the field, as biographer & teacher, doesn’t actually alter what is on the page, any more than Jack Spicer’s or Ezra Pound’s notoriously antisocial comments & activities in the real world erases the value of their poetry. In this sense, Kasey is quite correct in asserting that the social is not a formal term. Where form does intersect with the social, however, has to do with the poem’s own sense of its permeability vis-à-vis the world. This has less to do with reference in the sense of “this poem is about the struggle of the heroic people of Lichtenstein” than it does with language sources, image schemas & -- the deciding factor for me – the way in which the poem structurally defines itself.

The most interesting instances in this territory (as in many others) are those that situate themselves ambiguously along the border. Larry Eigner is an excellent case in point. His poems are as contained & formally balanced as any written over the past 50 years:


      the idea of dancing


                       making room

This untitled piece from The World and Its Streets, Places (Black Sparrow, 1977) could be analyzed in exactly the same kind of formal terms that I used with Barbara Guest on November 3. The poem proposes itself almost as the essence of lightness, with extra spacing between lines & the characteristic Eigner sweep down across the page. Its use of suffix & sound organizes the prosody: hear the k move from walking to making & the elegant use of the liquid m from time to making & finally to room. There is nothing apparent within this text to suggest anything other than what is on the page – even the casual or unfamiliar reader will recognize that the relation between walking & dancing (think of a choreographer like Simone Forti or Sally Silvers) could be very adequately characterized as time making room. & yet here is a poet who could not walk, who spent his life confined to wheel chairs. Nowhere is that mentioned: the fact simply haunts the poem for anyone who ever knew Eigner or knew of him well enough to know how cerebral palsy shaped & limited his physical vocabulary. At what level is this poem a lyric?

Eigner is justly famous for his use of simple nouns – wind, tree, sun, sky – and yet it is relatively rare in his poems for these items to exist as abstractions. The presence of the human world repeatedly invades & contextualizes.


    the birds chorusing

           clouds moving the sky

                                the haze

                   blast the foghorn
                 through the trees

Bounded at either end by couplets, the birds anthropomorphized, clouds assigned intentionality, the key verb blast is as much a curse as a description of sound. Nature, in Eigner, is never innocent. Nor at times is it even nature. Another poem in the same book reads

the rain and the stars

                            in the head
                            in the head


                              slow clouds, the dark

Where exactly does this take place? What is the ontological status of the dark?

Not all of Eigner’s poems work like this, but a substantial majority of them do. While his palette is very much that of the lyric, these poems are not contained but are often, as with these three, records of an intense struggle against constraint. These poems are in fact social very much in the same way that Olson’s Maximus, or Pound’s Cantos or Du PlessisDrafts are. They take as a given their interactions with the world.

Another poet who very much straddles & plays with these borders, albeit in a very different manner, is Jackson Mac Low. Characteristic of his approach is the book Twenties (Roof, 1991) in which each of the 100 twenty-line poems is fixed not just formally, but in time – each text both as to the date of composition & the location. Here are the first two stanzas of 44, written on March 2, 1990, in “Dr. Wadsworth’s consulting room”:

Certainty       tardive dyskinesia   Pascal   quilt
swift adjacency    directed   cliff     waltz
nostrum     Galatians       seed difficulty      inert
parse quelled draft marzipan            pileate

Zesty quaff varnish      nice ol’ obedience
lira ingression       price of ineptitude   readiness
lean-to fortunate obligation        needle paddle
assignation league         reach    Portugal

Each poem in the book is composed of exactly five such stanzas, almost all of whose lines also exhibit a spatial caesura. Exoskeletally, the poems are as fixed or closed as any sonnet series. Aurally, they’re a riot, sounding like a calliope heard under the influence of some bad psychotropic, with just a hint of the Daytona 500 buzzing in the consonants. To call them “lyric” in the prosodic sense is to parody the notion, which I think is part of the point. Most significantly, however, is the range of possible linguistic inputs into this verbal machine. Its first line consists of an abstract state of belief; a chronic condition resulting from anti-psychotic medications, characterized by uncontrollable chewing motions; a philosopher whose most famous work’s title could be translated into English as Thoughts; and a homey object – one that very often is composed of a limited set of repeated patterns – associated with craft more than art.  At one level, Mac Low is playing with our definition of the work itself. At another, he is pulling material in from everywhere – there is no part of the human experience that cannot be sucked into this process, & like both tardive dyskinesia & Pascal, many of the individual words & phrases by their very nature function as barbs or hooks to the social universe.

If Eigner gives us what we expect in a New American lyric form, he does while continually problematizing & subverting the notion. Mac Low on the other hand fulfills the social contract for a lyric work with the passion of an obsessive compulsive. The poems are closed formally. At one level their sense of containment is complete. But at another, the world is traveling through these Twenties like so much Port Authority traffic at rush hour. Mac Low gives us the outer structure, but violates its implicit (or possibly hidden) assumptions with an abandon that is often breath-taking.

Mac Low & Eigner each raise the question of lyric containment, but do so in ways that raise the stakes for the genre considerably. Like Rae Armantrout (who might be thought of as a third front in this assault on the lyric), they demonstrate how a poetic palette – a set of traditional devices – developed to insulate the poem from the dirty world can itself be socialized & that, in fact, there is not just one right way to go about this. They functionally disprove the core tenet of New Criticism & have expanded the possibilities of the poem not just for our time, but for the future.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

I feel a similar sense of poetry’s great reach when reading the work of people whose own life experiences seem radically different from my own. Frank Stanford’s childhood in the deep South would be one instance. Lorine Niedecker in the woods and small towns of rural Wisconsin is another. Besmilr Brigham is a third.

When I first began publishing poetry in the mid-1960s in little journals such as Meg Randall’s El Corno Emplumado, Brigham was one of the other poets whose work one could expect to see. The poems were spare, with a ragged, Creeley-esque line and evidenced a familiarity with such things as farm animals that indicated a life more rural than my own. Brigham was one of those poets whom I expected I would someday meet. But I never did. There was one book from Knopf in 1971, Heaved from the Earth, but at some point toward the end of that decade, I stopped seeing the poems in journals and then nothing but silence. Brigham had apparently joined poetry’s legion of disappeared, those poets whose work, though eminently worth reading, goes out of print never apparently to return. There are many poets (including several in the Spicer circle, such as Harold Dull, Ronnie Primack and James Alexander) whose work deserves to be read but which simply can no longer be found.

All of which is to explain why I felt such joy to find, finally, a volume, Run Through Rock: Selected Short Poems of Besmilr Brigham, edited by C.D. Wright and published by Lost Roads in 2000. Wright is also the editor who rescued Frank Stanford’s great long poem, The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You, republished by Lost Roads the same year as the Brigham volume.  Maybe Brigham’s work would not have stayed lost forever had not Carolyn thought to take this project on – Brigham’s son-in-law is the Southwest poet Keith Wilson – but in the publication of poetry, there are no guarantees.

The poems are much as I remember them, both wonderful & modest. Like several other poets of that period – Cid Corman, Ted Enslin, James Weil, Simon Perchik – Brigham’s shorter pieces understand the virtue of never trying to accomplish too much. Where they differ from the more austere programs of some of these other poets is in their openness to detail and their commitment to the eye. It is the eye that connects her to another poet of this period: Larry Eigner. Where Eigner’s poems initially appear light and airy on the page, only to reveal the intense epistemological concerns that drove him, Brigham’s poems are more notational and relaxed even when they’re also in the same moment dark & disturbing. A good example might be “Man Found in Chiapas Woods”:

hung up in the tree
a thing that did not grow there
his body stayed for seven
rank moons
until the priests found him

            what he brought
            climbing to the limb fork
until no rope could strangle it

pushing the tight words
deeper than the heart’s rush
(the few

who saw him after
a bauble blowing in the wind
ran from the soul strung up:
a cadaver of flesh without a cross
and crossed their souls in silence

he swung alone
except for the big caw parrots
that passed bush-deep from rain
and hot birds
shaking their feathers thick under leaves

flesh sucked out with sun
a dried leather covers his bones
stuck watery
like old clung bark
breaking and gummed to the dying sap

though there was a time
when wind
sucked under his clothes
before the cord sandals fell

and the faded old pants danced
a wild bird
caught in their crotch

The poem as a whole is terrific and Brigham gives it ample time to develop. Yet it is precisely the gradual pacing of development that lets in what I hear as overly hokey lines: “pushing the tight words / deeper than the heart’s rush” (the lines also sound great which may have kept them there – the added syllable in the second line is actually the third one – “than” – pushing “the” further out the line and giving a slant to the parallel noun phrases). Ultimately, I trust the decision to keep these lines, even as I suppress a shudder. The willingness to go anywhere is part of Brigham’s commitment to the reader.

In addition to her short poems, Besmilr Brigham also worked in sequences & serial poems, none of which are collected here. Hopefully another volume will appear in the future.

*Wilson himself has a collection forthcoming from Chax Press that hopefully will get his work out to a wider audience than it has had to date.