Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book Exchange, Part 5


Thanks again to Brian Salchert and Gary B. Fitzgerald for taking part in our three-way book exchange. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I feel lucky to have copies of their books. Earlier today, Gary also posted a poem of his that he wrote for his father back in 1992; readers will find it in the comment stream of the previous book exchange entry.

Meanwhile, I can’t help thinking that other poets and readers would benefit by this type of exchange. I, for one, would be happy to repeat the process. Granted, it could become an expensive habit — but what a great way to get acquainted and explore new poetic territory. Because, there are countless ways to arrive at poetry that works and strikes a chord, as long as honesty and integrity remain at the heart of the endeavor.

Book Exchange, Part 4
Book Exchange, Part 3
Book Exchange, Part 2
Book Exchange, Part 1


4.14.2009 #2
4.14.2009 #1


11 comments:

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

William:

Thank you for your kind words about my books. I am, though, just a little troubled by one of your observations. My poetry has occasionally been criticized because, for a modern ‘free verse’ poet, I use too much rhyme and so come off as ‘old-fashioned’. You have characterized my books as ‘journals’, which would be indicative of prose and, therefore, lacking in rhyme. Jeez, you can’t win for losing.

:-)

William Michaelian said...

Ah. Well, more accurately, I said your books “aren’t journals in the conventional sense, but to a large degree they serve that purpose.” They are journal-like content-wise, but not style-wise.

Personally, I like the way you use rhyme. You do so not as a matter of formula, but in varying degrees as the mood of the poem dictates.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Okay, then. At least you didn't call me 'didactic', as I was once accused of being. People just don't get philosophical poetry any more, do they?

I grow increasingly confused by all this 'non-poetic' poetry (Conceptual, 'post-avant', 'Language', Flarf, even Ashbery). Throw nature into the mix and you begin to feel like an antique. It's no wonder that nobody reads poetry any more. It's not ABOUT anything. "There's no there there".

In fact, I just read a piece today about how most people don't even know the proper names of plants and animals any more because they are so alienated from the natural world.

This means that they are divorced from the very spirit of Being. That might explain a lot about things these days.

GBF

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

"Personally, I like the way you use rhyme. You do so not as a matter of formula, but in varying degrees as the mood of the poem dictates."

Actually, the rhyme dictates the mood of the poem.

My Word Verification is 'throw', so I thought I'd just throw this one at you.

:-)

William Michaelian said...

I’d better get out my old baseball glove!

You’re right, the rhyme does dictate the mood of the poem. At the same time, though, while I don’t pretend to know how you work, I’d say it’s possible for the mood of a poem to exist before it’s begun. I know it’s often true in my case.

Regarding nature: I don’t think it’s quite that simple. Thinking out loud a bit — millions of us do live out our lives with little connection to what you refer to as the natural world. And like any animal, we respond to rural and wild settings; something ancient inside us springs to life. On the other hand, even when we live our lives entirely on cement and in tall buildings, our contact with each other, if we are observant, and because we are of the natural world, also amounts to contact with the natural world. It’s as possible for inspiring poetry to come from the streets as it is from the fields. Indeed, there will be different insights in both.

Your comment also reminds me of Dostoevsky, who could travel great distances in his novels without the slightest mention of nature, unless perhaps to underscore a bleak mood with fog or rain or snow. The landscapes he painted existed between his characters’ ears.

Anyway — forgive the incompleteness of these thoughts. I’ve never been one much to nail things down.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Your observation regarding nature is kind of ironic. I once posted on a blog site that, as far as I was concerned, 'Nature' included brownstones in Manhattan as well as anthills in pastures. You are, of course, correct. However, a flower with no root will soon die.

William Michaelian said...

Well, and there’s one of our big problems — dividing the world into easily digested chunks based on the limitations of our senses. It’s so easy to say rocks are dead and plants and animals are alive. But that’s a way of thinking I’ve never been comfortable with. To me, the old oak table in my mother’s dining room is alive. And you’re right about the Manhattan brownstones. Everything is part of one grand movement.

baj salchert said...

By the way, snail won the what's-on-the-chapbook cover contest.

William Michaelian said...

Oh? Who was the tie-breaker? You didn’t vote twice, did you?

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

So, Brian, I guess, based on the snail comment, that you got my e-mails. Did they go in your Spam bucket again?

baj salchert said...

No. Actually, only one did; and that one may have gotten there because I didn't realize where it was coming from.