One of the quietest books of Vermont poetry ever to fall through the cracks is this thin wonder. Nicely divided between two contrasting themes: "Vermont" and "Asia", and the lyrical power and persuasion remains constant and sure no matter where Lyle traveled. Just listen and feel the language work. Born in the spring of 1911 in Leverett, Massachusetts, a country boy raised in country schools and with farm stock, he worked his own way at odd jobs to make his way through an extensive education at Middlebury and later Harvard, where he had to be the most unassuming and modest Ph.D I ever met, and later worked for, at carpentry and landscape jobs at locations found in these Vermont poems. Hayden Carruth took a shine to the poems, too, and with the help of the Vermont Council of the Arts and fine arts publisher Roderick Stinehour, this series of Vermont Poetry Chapbooks was kicked off in 1975, with Hayden as its editor. You couldn't have been in better hands. I wish it could have gone on forever. Lyle as well. He passed away in North Bennington in the fall of 2004 at age 93. The time of year he loved.
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1 Moving from Buffalo to Bennington he digs a shoot of her spice bush from its lodge by the corner of the garage and some red roots of a choice peony and two small saplings from the big maple in front of the house, he tails them into the rough sod at the new site waiting for October rain for a final transplant, inside the new small house raw from the builder's plane and saw and mortar board he scrubs spilled sealer from the linoleum floor, hangs pictures in bedroom and livingroom where they will please her eye, arranges all the upstairs furniture before starting to unpack boxes of books for his downstairs den, they have been married 33 years, they have lived in apartments, the first small house, then the great house there in Orchard Park for growing children and growing reputations this house is for themselves 2. For an old man who cannot walk the trails the hills are supinely beautiful surrounded by green hogbacks remote from town he seems insulated from everything even a visit to the supermarket from which he can bring back a quart of milk a loaf of bread no handclasp from a friend 3 In the livingroom of the new house lights switched off his feet fumble in the dark nonpulssed to find no clue to the familiar way still too bright in his head to be switched off with the overhead lamp 4 He rolls his mower down to the big farmhouse the only house in sight and cuts a patch of grass for his sister-in-law roaming afterwards through the cluttered chambers of the great barn storing hay and junked machines from old days when the farm was acre to acre alive, now a neighbor's herd crops clover in the rented pasture, here in semi-dark a churn heaved in a corner is cobwebbed, there a cement block marked at corners with rusty tags of steel shows where the separator once chirred after the spurt of milk to scrubbed and shining pails 5 Rummaging in the pighouse at the farm he comes across a fence-maker's barb-wire creel suitable for a sawbuck ready for use this legacy from his father-in-law who sawed and squared and nailed the solid frame to last beyond his life stopped twenty years but speaking sure in oak that can endure beyond one man's tenure 6 You never get over trying to find out who what you are pretense jars, scars in the end will wear out so be true you at peace, even so somebody says "I didn't know you were like that" and the whole rigamarole to find out who, then, she thought you were starts over again to prove it to her 7 Morning air is so clear here and today so still a herd of cows four sheep are pasted like a child's cutouts white against green on the opposite hill 8 My father-in-law told how one spring when he was getting out dressing for the fields his spreader cleared the drive and gained the dirt highway in time to meet a two- seater from town, the driver and three ladies got up in white, and parasols, to view the pretty country cows and barns and horny handed farmers in denim bibs, he managed so his team got crossways of the road and he kicked loose the whiffletree just as they drew abreast, the load was fragrant and it took awhile to calm the restive horses his and theirs, he tipped his cap and saw them on their way passing a green bottle from nose to nose, it was not so much they were shocked as shocked was what they thought they ought to be 9 An immense tenderness comes over him for all the shared or missed opportunities he feels lucky to have been spared aloneness, the look back on years of self- congratulation, knowing at heart it wasn't all that great to be fourth for dinner and bridge the customary spice of the party, but late at night in the spic and span small apartment all to himself an inventory of rage 10 Once poised upon the edge for ever you look down on fields and farms below green groves and furrows far and fallow where they walk the godlike people whom to join would be to plunge but once up there impaled upon the cliff's high brink who evermore would dare the paradise below? 11 From his small house protected against risks he looks across dry fields already harvested and at a hill on fire with autumn flame, the panic in the leaves infects his reverie with worse than the old fear : the inferno in his brain this year will it winter spring again and summer to a new fall? 12 He makes no mistake about his great dread, not loss of life; granted everything else depends on that going-on, that little tittle of pulse and nerves scarcely deserves fretting over, rather he dreads to discover he must not expect a reincandescence of words unleafing during the agony of every new day a rebirth 13 Walking the brown and gold October swamp in search of a stray he stirs the curiosity of a pastured bull and comes back laden with orange ferns and from a ruined wall a lichened rock suitably flat for one more stepping stone across the incipient lawn 14 Deep in the swamp maple and tamarack birch and pine give way to feathered ferns above the glittering stream whose murmur here speaks to no ear year after year till now I come and stay a moment and as softly go 15 How unexpectedly he misses the coercion of all those years of rows of students driving him to fresh discoveries, now books become the pets of idle hours fret his mind mildly, lack the irritant of panic, what can I say today to stir their apathy look, see the poet self- amazing drew aside a curtain on his hell or heaven for you too 16 On the high hill above our house November winds obliterate the view which wide and far beyond the Monument contracts in chill of shoulderblades too hunched too narrowed to permit for inward sight an outward slit
LYLE GLAZIER Two Continents Vermont Poetry Chapbooks The Stinehour Press 1976
It's always a good sign when someone not American — Jean Renoir, Wim Wenders, Holly Golightly — come to America and show us what Americana is all about. Nevermind that the name Holly Golightly was played by Audrey Hepburn in the film Breakfast at Tiffany's, loosely based on the novellaby Truman Capote. The English singer-songwriter was born Holly Golightly Smith and today lives on and runs a farm in rural Georgia with Texas musician Lawyer Dave, who pretty much makes up the "Brokeoffs." When not making home recordings (many),
Here's the new order of business in case you haven't been paying attention — "get reading!" The Guardian after the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez lists five books you must have under your belt if you wish to proceed onward toward the inevitable end of the earth since, supposedly, the oceans are dying. When they go — we go. I do pay attention to that. But I was reading, madly, before this announcement of doom. Get cooking because Marquez wrote long journey books. I'll go back and maybe even reread one of the Marquez classics. I read all the books when they first appeared, but News of a Kidnapping (1996) dealing with Colombian drug dealer Pablo Escobar's Medellín Cartel in the 1990s, is beckoning in these times. Proceed and read all your Kafka, Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Bernhard, Flannery O' Connor. It's Julia Roberts, who blurts out of the blue, in character, in the much under appreciated film August: Osage County, the name of Carson McCullers. One more little-read author to make a second coming. Take note that Sam Shepard is the troubled alcoholic poet in the film, and of late, Shepard has been showing up in a bit longer cameo portions in films not adding all that much but he's used wisely, like tinctures of seasoning, in this film. Time to re-read True West, Buried Child, the man's singular travel essays? He likes to travel solo, on the ground, with wheels. While you pencil in names to get-reading with, don't balk or hesitate or think you're slumming it with Donald Westlake. You should already be on the road to ruin having read all his novels and chief character "Parker" through the Westlake penned "Richard Stark" novels. I've lost count now who has been re-issuing what and when after Westlake's death a few years ago. The first time published The Comedy Is Finished (2012) was written but not published around the same time Martin Scorsese released his black comedy The King of Comedy (1982), starring Jerry Lewis and Robert DeNiro, an unlikely pairing that works wonders. Read your Westlake (drink your milk) although I prefer Richard Stark. Also read W.G. Sebald, Ron Rash, and how'd you get this far not reading Brigid Brophy? I was at a fine and meaty book sale yesterday where two book dealers, jokers, clowns really, circled a poetry table grabbing every known name (what "names" are there in poetry? Yeats, Heaney, Ashbery it seems to these dervish dancers), shouting out their devilish skills at being pests, which they are, leaving behind, at least, hidden treasures of great poets and titles and "no-names" in their game and pursuit at being irritating top-feeders, and then hightailing it away. Going for the gold! It's all about revenge and spite. But I've noticed, when traveling between book sales, small towns where the white man has failed in New England — the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Moroccan, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese etc., are doing pretty darn well for themselves. Making do and revitalizing a broken down business left crooked and busted by the white man's spite; er, I mean spirit.
It's not the oceans that will die first. And if and when they do, we'll know who had their hand in on it. Of course it's not just the mafia of pesky book dealers that mount a book sale — there are the readers here as well. Some quite devoted. I watched two women work as a team on a dozen heavy boxes of carefully chosen garden and landscaping books. This took hours of their labor. Afterwards, by chance, we would meet up on the curb outside the book sale with our gleanings piled up in boxes ready to load for the ride home. They were loading their booty up into the back bed of a red Toyota pickup, Vermont plates, and I asked if they had a shop. They must have been prepared for me because the taller of the two, with the longer hair and the big smile said quickly, "Nope. We're just obsessed." I nodded with a smile and said, "Good for you." And they knew what I meant. A moment later while they still worked at their loading I heard one of the woman say to the other, "It's okay to have a house filled up with books, isn't it?" Sure it is.
In our spring rounds — hiking and brushing off the mud — we happened to try our luck at the end of the day at one of those modern grocery stores that act fully as a casino — loud lighting, terrible music littering the air space, something about "gold coins" which we didn't have, people in a mad dash with carts! and found for ourselves what we had been hoping to find after a very long winter: strawberries, not from New England yet of course, but shipped from Watsonville, California, which I can't help but think of John Steinbeck's East of Eden, each strawberry deeply red and ripe for eating on the half hour drive on the backroads to home. And that's what we went and did.
A poem (or more) will be offered by the hour or with the day and at the very least once a week. So stay on your webbed toes. The aim is to share good hearty-to-eat poetry. This is a birdhouse size file from the larger Longhouse which has been publishing from backwoods Vermont since 1971 books, hundreds of foldout booklets, postcards, sheafs, CD, landscape art, street readings, web publication, and notes left for the milkman. Established by Bob & Susan Arnold for your pleasure. The poems, essays, films & photographs on this site are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the author's go-ahead.
"Once again, my friends, this is your best book! Exquisite in design, fat enough to be a feast, pretty enough to just wade around in, but deep enough to dive into and stay with, all I can say is WOW, you guys really did it – it’s the first of its kind, a scrapbook novel that is also a how-to and a mystery -- how did he do it, and how does he make rocks balance like Thor? — Gerald Hausman" ~