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A Reminiscence

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Held in a late season
At a shifting of worlds,
In the golden balance of autumn,
Out of love and reason
 
We made our peace;
Stood still in October
In the failing light and sought,
Each in the other, ease
 
And release from silence,
From the slow damnation
Of speech that is weak
And falls from silence.
 
In the October sun
By the green river we spoke,
Late in October, the leaves
Of the water maples had fallen.
 
But whatever we said
In the bright leaves was lost,
Quick as the leaf-fall,
Brittle and blood red.           


                 For Kenneth Rexroth, 1950

Richard O. Moore, “A Reminiscence” from Writing the Silences. Copyright © 2010 by Richard O. Moore. Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.
Source: Writing the Silences (University of California Press, 2010)
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A Reminiscence

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  • Richard O. Moore, a documentary filmmaker for public television, was one of the founders of KPFA—the first publicly supported radio station in the United States. He was born in Alliance, Ohio, and attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied poetry with Josephine Miles. He was associated with the San Francisco Renaissance and frequented Kenneth Rexroth’s Friday meetings for poets, philosophers, and poetry aficionados. During World War II, Moore was classified 4-F and counseled conscientious objectors. He wrote poetry for decades but shared little of it until poet Brenda Hillman encouraged him to publish. In 2010, Hillman and Paul Ebenkamp edited Moore’s book Writing the Silences, a collection representing more than 60 years of his work. A second collection, Particulars of Place, was published by Omnidawn in 2015.

    Moore’s early exposures to Miles’s teachings, Rexroth’s poetry, and philosophers such as Ludwig Wittgenstein all influenced his writing. Hillman, in her foreword to Writing the Silences, explains that “Moore...

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