Prelude

By Michael Palmer b. 1943 Michael Palmer
The limit of the song is this
prelude to a journey to
the outer islands, the generative
sentence, waltz project, forms,
qualities, suns, moons, rings,
an inside-outside then
an outside-inside shaped
with her colored clays. The days
yet propse themselves
as self-evident, everything there
everything here
and you are reading
in a way natural to theatre
a set of instructions
that alters itself automatically
as you proceed west
from death to friendliness, the two
topics upon which you are allowed
to meditate
under the first broad drops
of rain. The planes
will be piloted by ancestors
who have come back to life.
Why the delay.

“Prelude” by Michael Palmer, from The Lion Bridge Copyright © 1998 by Michael Palmer. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Source: The Lion Bridge (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1998)

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Poet Michael Palmer b. 1943

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Music, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Michael Palmer was born in New York City and educated at Harvard in the early 1960s, where he encountered Confessional poetry. His opposition to Confessionalism found root in a developing poetics when he attended the landmark 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference, a three-week gathering where he met Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, and Clark Coolidge. Correspondence with those three poets greatly influenced Palmer’s early development . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Music, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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