Wednesday, December 2, 2009


grey whiteness of fog against invisible

top of ridge, motion of shadowed leaves

in foreground, sound of wave in channel

side of charged part, that

in other cases space

causes another event, that

point, in this light

line of white cloud to the left of point,

tree-lined green of ridge across from it


  1. Steve,

    Following along with these, and marveling at the capacity of this sequence to capture and incorporate elements of repetition with elements of flow, I'd be interested to know how you hit on this formal division into "nines". Obviously this set of units and groups has a balance and fluency that works for you, compositionally, and too it works for the reader, as one settles into the procedure. I wonder, for example, if you see the aymmetrical weighting of the first triplet as a sort of loading, or set-up, like an establishing shot?

    (Forgive the technical question; the senses of personal nostalgia/loss in revisiting these familiar landscapes of yours makes these poems immensely powerful for me in "private" ways that in turn make me want to put on the brakes a bit and understand the distancing mechanisms...curious how the illuminated observation can be "read" as elegiac in this closed context... excuse the autobiographical irrelevance here... but I suppose that's what bloggers predictably do, isn't it, blurt?)

  2. Tom, Thanks so much for this, which I've just now found -- yours is maybe the first such comment ever to 'appear' here (!) Very good to read/ hear your sense of "illuminated observation" (of the things out there, I think you mean) and "elegiac in this closed context" (yes! before they all disappear, or change into other things to be seen/heard), also "the capacity . . . to capture and incorporate elements of repetition w/ elements for flow". . . . Meanwhile, finding the "nines" was more or less an accident -- one I've been working at now for some 1,600 pages or so, so things have settled into some kind of a 'pattern' it seems (one that keeps evolving in some kind of microtonal level. . . .

  3. Thank you, Steve. The beautiful dailiness of this does indeed build a sense of a regularity of pattern, like breathing -- seeming thus at once thoughtless, necessary, inevitable, and (almost) "no big deal". I feel what you mean about "micro-tonal", those shifts and nuances are the rewards and pleasures that accompany the constancy. The changing and returning over time, the "evolving" within the established rhythm... a life also is a "page" of a kind, maybe; perhaps counted; but then again, also having a form that seems beyond number, or anyway in some palpable sense curiously numberless.

  4. Thanks for this Tom, nice to think that someone is reading and/or actually thinking about all this. There's something that seems to take place ('happen') over an extent of time (in the work, reading it (maybe), certainly in writing it, that doesn't take place or 'happen' in any one piece of it -- one page alone is a small part of the coast line, a few feet or steps or yards, one can't begin 'see' the whole picture until one goes on for a while. But who can or would do that? I once did a reading (June '08, UC Davis) of all of HUMAN / NATURE -- 1,000 pages, 14 hours (4pm - 6 am) and somewhere in the middle of the night I was the only person awake in the room (everyone else snoring) -- 'marathon' event, completely different sense of the work.

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