Almost 100 years ago William Carlos Williams said aloud, "A bad poem is full of English literature".
And these days, Poetry Magazine (Chicago) continues to produce a quite usual
English literature. They are capable of publishing many fine poets, but
it is all presented through a narrow sieve, despite their riches and
Most recently comes The Open Door (which it
isn't), edited by Don Share and Christian Wiman. It is showcased as "100
poems, 100 years of Poetry Magazine". Basil Bunting to Jack Spicer, not bad. Gwendolyn Brooks to Lorine Niedecker, yeah! One poem each. Quenched. Severe. Static. So what. But certainly not terrible. Statuesque in a small way. Little juice.
It's embarrassing how badly made the contributors' notes can be, and this from the Poetry Foundation gods:
Lorine Niedecker: "Although her long correspondence with Louis Zukofsky, who frequently published her poems in his journal, Origins, brought her some critical notice. . ."
had a correspondence with Zukofsky, but in this case it is Cid Corman
that is being referred to here, and it isn't "Origins" as every poet
knows, but Cid's magazine and press Origin.
Cid Corman: "The first two volumes of his selected poems, Of (1990) contain nearly 1,500 poems. Corman spent many years in Japan."
not Cid Corman's selected poems, but three published volumes (of a
proposed five volumes) of original poems, many unpublished until these
glorious handmade volumes appeared. Cid's selected poems is The Next One Thousand Years, edited by Ce Rosenow and Bob Arnold (Longhouse), one of many to come of this poet's selected poems from a vast field of poetry.
Cid didn't spend many years in Japan — he lived decades
in Japan, with his Japanese wife Shizumi, in a very modest abode in
Kyoto where he translated many of the finest Japanese poets and poems
ever seen. That's all.
How in the world are we to support
already little known, or at the very least quiet, backwater poets, when
they are misrepresented this way?
by Cid Corman
There wasnt space
for two to pass
at one moment
and that moment
Fate had spoken
And Fate followed
through at the cost
of the Other.
It takes a life
time's blindness to
see one's father.
. . .
The way one
the slow low
twang of an
way she to
whom I smile
smile: the way.
. . .
To come out
long day's work
and all so
light and crisp—
as if we're
on the cake.