What I Learned Blogging for Harriet (after Alan Gilbert)
That in response to postings, a lot of people prefer to send back channel emails than to publish their comments on site.
That one criterion for death is the failure to communicate or respond.
That I generally like poetry ridden hard and put up wet.
That some poets are a lot more interesting in their poetry than they are in their commentaries.
That as usual, Oppen speaks for me when he says “I think of literature not as a part of the entertainment industry, but as a process of thought.”
That I couldn’t quite separate the notion of essay or review from blog, which made it difficult for me to write eight a month, especially as job obligations intensified.
That it felt great to have a place to champion poetry to a diverse community of readers.
That I wanted to interact more with the other bloggers than I was able and so suggest we all fall together in Chicago, first drink on me.
That the sun doesn’t shine on the same dog’s ass every day.
That I loved Rusty Morrison’s The True Keeps Calm Biding Its Story from Ahsahta Press: “A skirtful of fresh pears rolling onto the lawn and into the stealth of narrative please.”
That Rilke writes to his Polish translator (regarding Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, just released by Dalkey Archives in a new translation by Burton Pike), that Malte “searched for a demonstration in the visible of the event that had become invisible within us.”
And that Rilke writes (contra Aristotle) of Malte: “He was a poet and hated the approximate….”
That as far as poet’s prose goes, Carol Moldaw’s The Widening is memorably sharp, poignant, searing in its revelations of the agony of youthful sexuality and misfiring relationships.
That it was the radical Nietzsche who called himself a “teacher of slow reading.”
That if our brains are being rewired by our interaction with technology, that if our attention spans are diminishing or subdividing to host multiple, simultaneous channels of information, that if the paradigm for intellection and imagination is dramatically shifting its modality from text to image, that if our cultural productions are narrowing into so many variations on spectacle, poetry’s delivery systems will change, but its collaboration with silence will continue to offer a transformative summons.
That if it were phrased differently, I would not be clobbered by the line “All these things will not touch you again.”
That I’m grateful POETRY has set the table for a conversation to which all of us genially have been invited.
Born in California’s Mojave Desert, poet Forrest Gander grew up in Virginia and attended the College of William & Mary, where he majored in geology. After earning an MA in literature from San Francisco State University, Gander moved to Mexico, then to Arkansas, where his poetry—informed by his knowledge of...