I have been reading My Heart Is Like An Open Jelly Jar
all the while. It’s the last thing I read before falling off to sleep each night.
My previous late night book for a week was Rockwell Kent’s WILDERNESS,
my favorite of all his books. Christmas time in Alaska. 1920.
The first dare of the poet is setting up each poem in a form syntax that most will either balk at — perhaps the serious reader — and it may attract the playful but as with everything you do in writing, it is both playful and deadly serious, even though as with the best of the ancient poets, your subjects are mainly frivolous. Your poems aren’t written, they’re told. I taste them. And I can think of no modern poet in America who does this with such aplomb and delight. You not only write excellent poems, you do so daring the reader to be as attentive as you are to a lover shaving her armpits, or leaves gathering like battleships, walks out to nowhere, the light and the shade, the petals that drop in the quiet of a dark room. Dearly masterful. You have to believe me.
Not only are your poems structured into shapes, but I detected not one line was manipulated from its meaning to make each shape. Marvelously the poem shape and the poem strength and meaning align one to the other, it’s craftsmanship. Apollinaire could do this, Louise Landes Levi does this, precious few, and those that attempt it are usually disguising that little is behind the playful structure. We get acorns, bombs, missiles, leaves and poems that flow as song with you.
Bravo maestro. You’re a poet who has seen life and death. You can’t help yourself but wake up and write, walk outdoors and write. And you’re a poet I would want to meet.
[ BA ]