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cid corman by bob arnold

 

Table of Contents

1. Bob Arnold introduction

2. Cid Corman

3. Preface to Famous Blue Aerogrammes

4. Robert Creeley

5.Theodore Enslin

6. Lyle Glazier

7. Lorine Niedecker

8. Frank Samperi

9. Franco Beltrametti

10.Clive Faust

11. M. J. Bender

12. Gael Turnbull

13. Carol Berge

14. Ian Hamilton Finlay

15. Thomas A. Clark

16. Jonathan Greene

17. Sappho - Versions by Cid Corman

18. Cid Corman - from Subluna

19. Janos Pilinszky, translated by Cid Corman

20. Laurent Grisel

21. Sengai, translations by Cid Corman

22. Michael Corr

23. Philippe Denis, translated by Cid Corman

24. Eugenio Montale, translated by Cid Corman

25. Barbara Moraff

26. John Martone

27. Fred Jeremy Seligson

28. Shizumi Corman

29.

The complete Origin Sixth Series now on CD

Please link for ordering information

 

 

 

CID CORMAN ~ THE NEXT ONE THOUSAND YEARS

for Shizumi Corman

 

A friend of mine, a close associate of Cid Corman, and I were talking the other day about how it just may take another one thousand years, or maybe a thousand more - what's another thousand years in poetry? - for Cid Corman to come back around and be seen for what he was. I don't worry about the young poets. The young poets were always drawn to Cid, and they will be forever more. It's that liberty thing about Cid, and the young eat it like fruit from a tree. The problem is all of us just have to die off - get rid of the straggle-toothed old blood venom that festers like a virus in the professional poetry camps. Cid disliked camps, even though he couldn't help but tribe one of his own through his magazine and press Origin. It just happens.

Cid was the first, or one of the first, to publish extensively Louis Zukofsky, William Bronk, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov and the list is just endless with today's poets he found, or those who went to find him either in the nest of his Boston restaurant parlor, or at the Kyoto headwaters. Cid's essence was that he spanned generations and poetries unlike anyone in postWW2 world literature: as publisher of Origin netting poetry no matter where it was, into his own translations sweeping old and new Europe, through the vastness that is Asia, and then returning to his homeland budding new generations of poets, translators, editors, readers who virtually bowed to him.

Cid's acclaim for Lorine Niedecker is like a one-man Jesse Fuller band.

His allegiance to the tiniest lost thread of a poet is legendary. How many saplings in the forest did he personally slog out to after a storm and patiently tie back up? Try all of them. Did he infuriate people? Yes, and most missed out how that was his greatest gift. He told the truth. Cid expected the same truth to be returned to him. When in his darkest moments he shared with me - somehow humbled and a little delirious at once - that the Nobel Prize committee should be calling him soon; after he championed down to a boxer's worn mouth guard legions of poets work - now it was his turn. I advised Cid that he best stop sitting by the phone. There were more poems to write!

Cid had the genius to be able to speak to anyone. He wrote JFK a very serious letter, and I watched him once upon a time take that same seriousness and speak to a parrot on a post in a Central Park zoo. As a basic out-of-shape desk servant who liked to walk his pathways, there are no poets that quite understood the wilderness like Cid Corman. He had a grip on Gary Snyder, Ted Enslin and other earthly ones long before anyone. His poems can be plunked down into any setting from New Formalism to Language Poets; and by the way, Hallmark Cards missed a golden opportunity with Cid. Go ahead and laugh! But just imagine the possibilities.

Like John Coltrane at the moment he split from Miles Davis in the early 60s leaving jazz for something altogether spiritual, everlasting, not of this earth and will be heard forever and ever and ever. No, Cid isn't Coltrane. That's only the first layer. Cid is John Gilmore - the scintillating horn player deep behind the leaves Coltrane bushwhacked into and learned some things from. Cid Corman did everything his more famous brethren accomplished, and thensome - he stayed in the unknown.

I believe it's time to begin an anthology for Cid. Something I will edit and keep ongoing until kingdom come. We will start off with Cid's own work from The Famous Blue Aerogrammes, and then oar the Longhouse backwaters for many other poets from our pages and walks of life over the last 35 years - given to us as gifts, meteoric, meant to share. Let the sharing begin.

Bob Arnold

For Cid Corman books & publications go to this Room in our Bookshop

Cid Corman, The Famous Blue Aerogrammes

 

 

Has it ever
occurred to you
you're what is oc-
curring to you?

FOR
CARSON

There are stories and
there is poetry and some
times even music.

Alive or dead
I'm in it for
the poetry.
Everything
helps decipher
what nothing means.

THE
CAUTION

If you dont
give a shit -
you are sure

going to
find yourself
full of it.

Always that shudder
when the third eye winks
between the others.
Only a bunch of
swallows over and over
the darkening stream.

How can a poem
be so simple and
be a poem? Dont

ask me or even
yourself or others -
let the poem say.

You are here - just as
I had imagined -
imagining me.
 
  Nothing ends with you -
every leaf on the ground
remembers the root.
The kitten
holds you in
your hand — that

mew — that purr —
that rag of
life — that home.
 
   
Everything is
coming to a head — meaning
blossoms yet to fall.
In the shadow of
the mountain the shadow of
any bird is lost.
The jasmine
holds its bud
all winter

only to
surprise the
springtime quick.
Life only
means to live.
What else do

you ask of
a flower
but flower?
BOTTOM
LINE


You can see
just how far
you’ve got by

how well you’re
balancing
your shadow.
I wear the mask of
myself and very nearly
get away with it.
The cry
of all cry —
silence.
Something has

to be done
about this.

How can you

imagine
just leaving

it alone?
Touched by weeds
passing along
a narrow
sidewalk.
I’m here
to let
poetry

be. Not one
moment
without.
The light
of the leaves
blossoms

This is
what comes of
a day.
How to learn to be
ignorant? Any scholar
provides example.
The rain stops
or has it
just begun?
So that

when

was

now

will be
Sweeping the garden
a rock striking bamboo and
everything clicks.
There are so
many ways
of saying

nothing and
we’ve got them
all down pat.
WOMAN

She waters
the plants downstairs
from upstairs —
so does the rain.
Your shadow
on the page
the poem.
SHIMOGAMO

In the river skeins
of sunlight and sky fastened
to the moment’s dye.
The sparrow
frets. The crumbs
are clearly

there but so —
sadly — is
my shadow.
Learning to die —
every moment
seems to help.
Can any moment
ever be equal to this?
Wind shaking the pane.
I look at the sky
I look at the earth and sea —
what is it I want
and you want and all want and
what is it we all dont have?
AREAS OF INTEREST

the telephone keeps ringing
the clouds hardly move
Daybreak reminds us —
the hills have arrived just in
time to celebrate.
How far back

do we go
to this? To

see the light

through the glaze
of autumn’s

maple leaves.
Any
moment
now it
will have
been it.
You’ll never get to
the end of me — I doubt if
I’ll get there either.
No crying

over stars —
understand?

They are there

just to help
you appre-

ciate night.
The key to life is
life — there’s nothing to get
you into into.
What’s the point
of a sky?

Only a
star answers
And if you
had never
been? Am I

speaking to
an ant or
Jesus Christ?

And is there
any real
difference?
THE
KIDS


The last day at last —
everything they brought to
school coming home now.

Why should I
think of her
now? But then

she was my
mother. She
thought of me.

THE

old pond
frog leaping
splash

And if Li Po had
got the moon in his mitts what
would he have done with it?

TO
LET

I am dead and
I have them buried in me
and they me in them.

In the mirror for
a moment it almost all
seems just possible.
The faint trilling of
a cricket keeps the meaning
of all time time time.
An old twisted stick
but sturdy - red oak -
just what I wouldve
expected from Ted.
So many black flies
getting into the house and
making us killers.
A pine branch fallen
and resting now upon a
cherry budding yet.

Like trying to
imagine a
butterfly

trying to
imagine being
a butterfly.

Silence talks

too much or
havent you

been listening?

I wouldve
sworn there was

nothing but
here you are.

You can be sure of
nothing — can depend upon
it — as nothing else.
The sunlight seems to
be snowing — as if there were
these points to be made.
CASE

To ascend
and come down

through the dance
to this earth.
Moon under the rain —
everywhere anywhere
a sort of glimmer

( 17th c/Japan)
Fire under the ash
and written on the wall the
shadow of a friend

— Basho
OMENKIND

The weight of

a falling

leaf upon

your shoulder.
Nothing to look at
and everything to see —
the way a rock stares.
ETHNICITY

If we dont kill each
other — who will? We know our
duty — seeing it.
Looking for
signs of time

Maybe a
cloud passing
FIREFLY

I wonder. Is it
mere curiosity or
just a quiet glow?
NEST

I’ve pulled so many
hairs out of my nose and if
I hadnt done so?
The idea of
an idea — so like us
had to become us.
Who could do
you better

than you did
anyhow?
PRESENT
TENSE


When a tiger looks
at you — you know beyond doubt
you are being seen.
MURPHY

Each leaf as it fell
new life — contact with the earth —
before it lay down.
It’s about

a thousand
letters we’ve

each written

each other
since we last

met goodbye.
Is it always
this — this way? Yes.
Yea. Though it walk

like a shadow
and is just that
you tag along.

THE
VESSEL

Needing the dark to
steer by - a glint or glimmer
of where we're headed.

The echo
of silence

getting to
us get us.

Eden was only
Eden only as long as
Adam within Eve.

If ever we

awaken
we come to find

all life (and

all is life
including

death) is one.

We have only each
other to care for and that’s
what all’s all about.
Say it — be it — let
it be — we are the end of
all beginning now.
The sun is
my shadow

I shall not
want — it

leadeth me
If there were
an answer —
this would be
the answer.
SOLOMON

Is awareness of
vanity wisdom or is
wisdom vanity?
WONDER
BREAD


Behold the
spectacle

to which we
contribute.
THE
CALL


Life is poetry
and poetry is life — O
awaken — people!
We wear out
but the sky

looks as new
as ever
Hammering away
even after sundown - the
darkened hills’ echoes.
GUEST

You’ll find me out
visiting you.
Don’t worry —
you’ll make it

Life is your
guarantee.
You’re not the
only one

nor am I —
we find out.
How would
you know -

you’re on
ly here.
The cricket asking
asking all night long at last
gets at what it is.
I listen to the
poem letting me know how
it is to happen.
Standing in
the doorway
nobody
Shhh. I’m trying to
hear what I’m trying to say —
what I’m telling me.
Do you ever get
used to dying? Or ever
to have to have lived?
The only reason
I could possibly have for
being here is you.
When am I going
to lose my leaves and find I
am the poetry?
THE
MEASURE


We always
have

this
to go by.
BY
HEART


If we had only
listened to the silence we
might have learned nothing.
REMEMBER

At this

very
moment

you can

feel how
lucky

you are.
Every
thing matters

and that will
include you.

Life without
a question

is the only
answer.

~ Cid Corman

 

Preface to Famous Blue Aerogrammes

 

I have had this little book in mind and in the making for some years now. Cid and I often talked about it and it had his blessings, and in some ways it may be the perfect gift to be given now with his passing. This is Cid at his ever best, informally presenting his poems typed outside on mail aerogrammes to all his friends and correspondence - no matter how long he had known you - complete strangers became friendship as any friend. I imagine the post office might have had one reader in its ranks between Kyoto & Vermont. The poems suddenly appeared on the aerogrammes at the start of the '90s and continued right up to his last letter to me at the end of December 2003. All others who had letters from Cid experienced similar poems-as-gift. He mined poems from his already published books, new work, poems that were coming to him as he wrote a letter to a particular friend; even other poets' poems. Everything was game. I know he drew poems to me right out of my letters or the subject of those letters - so a poem to my young son Carson, another about Ted Enslin, laying stone in my work as a builder - the matter at the moment. Few poets reached the very moment like Cid. He meant poetry to be the absolute headache for any archivist or scholar of the future: the insistence on poetry being of the now. What's the point, afterwards? Cid seems to be saying to us all. I've selected over fifteen years of the poems-on-aerogrammes period and of course before then, poetry was always Cid's letters. Mail-call. One more reason why we miss him every day. ~ B o b A r n o l d, 2004

First Published by Longhouse in 2004. Cid Corman. The Famous Blue Aerogrammes. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

 

Robert Creeley

A FEELING

However far
I'd gone,
it was still
where it had all begun.

What stayed
was a feeling of difference,
the imagination
of adamant distance.

Some time,
place,
some other way it was,
the turned face

one loved,
remembered,
had looked for
wherever,

it was all now
outside
and in
was oneself again

except there too
seemed nowhere,
no air,
nothing left clear.

First published by Longhouse 1995. Robert Creeley. A Feeling. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

 

Theodore Enslin

Six Music Lessons

1st

All in good time    what shall we add
except that it comes without a bidding
crisis hardly matters    pnor the accents
crusis/anacrusis    A Bach chorale
as good example    he would have said
“Gottes Zeit ist die alle best”
and did so    many times    in various ways
as the night blooming cereus at dusk
in dawn surrounded by its wreckage
its perfume    gone    not lost    it was
a good time for it    that is all.

2nd

In heat of the measure
I have swallowed fire
naught but the flame to leave
the place of burning    some
would have called it Gehenna
place to purify that which is unclean
turn cold again    no measure left
nor bone in ash remaining
yet from the heat remembrance
what is as what is not
on verge of being was and is

3rd

Old age    not winter    reaches something
of a clarity    of a voice to say what reaches
many keys    the modulations    one or two
still left    a surety    not in cadence    quite
the motion in reverse    not a mirror
much to negate    yet to repeat a melody
one not known was    always known remains
a ground where on to build no    haste
the signature of many times that left us
what are few to come once    more and so
the last of it    a wild surprise.

4th

Remembering the maze of sound    how
one moves within it    lost    not troubled
losing is a mere reflection of the light
how one to such another signpost    wavering
the light is dim    uncertain    carried in a lamp
is midway of the night no entrance    more
entreaty to begin again what has been learned
a great unlearning spelled in tablature
as stretti sounding    lead us on wherever
the form is of itself    led on    a rising    falls
one moves and moves again    is forever lost.

5th

Und    mich verlassen    cry of the ungrateful
unknowing    what was    is around a sounding
a tuning    offer grass and leaves    the supple
and the brittle of a tone intoned    hollow
or of registers above    the glass to cut
the knife is air alone    verlassen ist geburt
bright    pain bright joy in brightness leaves
a timbre    mich verlassen    not ungrateful
read in register    dun wood to grass blade
its gloss the sheen of water    let it be
so    as magic intercedes with logic.

6th

Magic    not a memory    one does not
remembering is other    magic in itself
is    and it is not    clap of water rising
cup of water    wave of one upon another
(in the dark    light of one and then the other)
what do we know?    why do we want to know it?
magic    what is    except the obvious
whereon there’s some of it    let it stand
one reads the notes and understands them
clap of sound    of water    what is given
all    a sounding    Die Alle Best Zeit
                                                Play on.

First published by Longhouse 2000 ~ Theodore Enslin. Six Music Lessons. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

 

Lyle Glazier

RECALLS — LYLE GLAZIER


Running home for lunch
   crossing the little bridge
      beyond Frank Howe's
   visualizing, on the rise,
      Mom's eyes at the window jog
   facing northeast along the barn door —
      she's be looking under
   the double joint
      between top and bottom sashes


b


Stove top toast
   fried on the hot lid
      cambric tea: hot
   water, sugar, milk


c


Sick headaches kept her
   from gathering
      of the Forthnightly Club
   at the Library


d


Practice for Mel
   from the time I was five
      catching without a mitt
   chasing wild pitches
      down the dirt road
   to the culvert
      and expected, on the way back,
to throw out my arm


e


into a clearing
in blackberry country
looks back, whistles,
strips and sprawls on a ledge
soaking sunstrength,
cannot control
the freshening
calls his dog
reaches under
both streaming,
dog, hind legs spread, squirting
on leaves
boy watching
watched by the sun
hides among trees,
they run in a team through the woods


f


after school
under a cornshock
funnels his hand
lingers
                  Mom
calling dinner
brothers at table


FOLK FRAGMENTS


What's yer name?
                                          Pudd'n tane

What's yer natur?
                                          Pudd'n tater


b


My mother has a Japanese fan
this is the way it opens
this is the way it fans


c


I'm in the millpond
I can't swim
how kin I git out agin?
        You git out
        as you got in
        I got in and out agin


d


The cat couldn't kit
the pup couldn't pup
the Old Man couldn't
git his rhubarb up


e


"You be Harry Glazier's boy, bean't ye?"


from Recalls by Lyle Glazier published as "Scout, winter 1986" by Longhouse in 150 numbers of which only a handful were signed.
Available from Longhouse Bookshop

Lorine Niedecker

Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Nov. 23, 1959


Dear Charles Reznikoff:


   Reading Inscriptions: 1944-1956 I often feel
a kinship between us in the short poem. And if
you are my brother-in-poetry then we have Chinese
and Japanese brothers. But I have a a great deal of
practicing to do - of quiet insight - before I can
enter such a good family.

   I like best if I can narrow down "The Indian
of Peru, I think", "One of my sentinels, a tree"
and "Hardly a breath of wind" with "the little
purposes are lost", the color of those abstract
words relating to the falling leaves. Among the
longer poems I felt the roll of "From Jehuda Halevi's
Songs to Zion."

   Hard to write and then get it printed. I try to
along with scrubbing floors in a hospital. Every
now and again, tho, there's a chink where a poem
comes thru. Altogether life is not really too hard -
I gather this what you say too.

   Mrs. Carlson's book will have a few of mine of
which I am enclosing two.

   Thank you for your book, "this added kindness."

                                       Yours
                                          and my best holiday wishes

                                                  Lorine Niedecker


First appeared for Autumnal Equinox 1998
Longhouse, Publishers & Booksellers

This letter has been transcribed line for line from the
holograph text. — Cid Corman, Executor of the Lorine Niedecker Estate

Available from Longhouse Bookshop

 

Frank Samperi

THE NEW HEAVEN NOW

 

the in    our love
the out    our light

the new heaven now
heavenly in communion
pro vobis et pro multis

~

looking to the garden
hearing the bell
from the wind

and  a  ways
                     out
ear to eye
a great tree

hair to sea

~

returning coming quemadmodum

cloud is number not conversely

draco seven seven (ten)

bestia mare seven (ten ten)

bestia terra (two)   (n)

~

where did I sit?
what window?
when?

a   bird   a sole   drop of rain
on a branch
of a bush

you   keeping me in view
my hand at rest on
yours

~

aperto ore suo

 

in the dark
         I sit

in the light
         I am

~

since I see thru a veil
the old
            see
                  me

                        dark
                                 ly

~

bird dropping effortlessly
tree or sky
hard to say
blades of grass

fluttering

as well

(from The Repulsion)

~

widening endlessly
the meadow
the crown the wood
the lone seagull
analogically
depth
twilight
           the revealer

First published by Longhouse 2002 ~ Frank Samperi. The New Heaven Now. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

Franco Beltrametti

from I TEND TO SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING

LUXEMBOURG 21/V/87 POSTCARD

?white clouds through blue
sky or blue clouds through
white sky?
much
sky
many
tree clouds
many
cloud clouds
much lagoon much
water
much
alone
alone how much
enough

9/IX/87 Burano
ZEITSCHRIFT FUR ALLES N. 10
TODAY”S VERSION OF IT

for Dieter Roth

(what is this noise?
(let’s call it music
(sometimes I say to myself
do I have a name for the thing?
(have I seen that movie
and where and when and what
was it called?
(the beginning was the end
(when I answered the telephone
I knew right away that she had
the wrong number
(god lives in a fridge
handing out words of wisdom
(beware of German philosophy
I say to those girls that take over
my dreams in Oklahoma

24-24/IX/87
PHONE CALL TO REIDAR EKNER

“We are on E4 250 km south of
Stockholm what should we do?”
ANSWER: “Drive carefully.”

27/XI/87
THALIA VERBATIM

I tend to simplify everything: if
he likes to pour his
tea in the pinball machine
why worry?

25/XII/87
it isn’t at all
the same thing
when it’s almost
but not exactly
the same thing

15/VI/88
monte generoso
6000 feet above the lake
its cliffs buddha faces
its trees dakini hair
in sky blue lights the way
to the white clouds
repeat towers on rocky heads
nothing but emptiness
is what they say

3/III/90
First published by Longhouse 2004 ~ from "I Tend To Simplify Everything" by Franco Beltrametti. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

 

CLIVE FAUST

THE REVENANT

I went down
to the beach
in winter. Made phone calls
from a booth twisting dial holes
on a jerk - marriage/divorces needing
legal contract, signed now,
with the settlement. Cars passing
attract eyes like animal
movement - too sealed in
for animals: people strapped in
indistinguishable from headrests
upright to safety belts
on their seats. But people

are all around here, crouch down finding
hideouts in the wind or at
shelter sheds from its access off
the harbour. Cars don't

cruise in it - chassis
too heavy, move rudderless through
vacuum pockets, at radials against
the curve. Ocean troughs

swell themselves up out
further onto crests, sharpen
where swollen, foams chopped off
at flurries. Whistlings
along telegraph wires, hummings rolled
tumbling out of reach. Over

cut lawns to amusement
park. Opening time
of Dodgem cars under poles, sparks
at electric net. Bump themselves
through openings, squeezed out
from in traffic, jam-shocked
onto buffers. Attendant slews
apart to clear, Pursuit rumble
and ram-jarred into flinch-laughs, swivelled
back-jerked against arms askew
on their seats.

 

 

WORK AT THE SAWMILL AND AFTER

Backed logs in
through shed
from area adjacent to where they'd been
felled, trunks shoved off
from open end of gable onto
saw to be split up

along lengths into half-moon
cross-sections, dense down onto
depths of logs from cutting edge,
in sounds of tin and wood vibrating
corrugated iron roof's rust
on rafter, Workmen -

'subcontractors'? - dark singlets,
felt hats, brims dinged down
on S bends, croens knuckled-in
to split open at corners
of the dinge, bodies thick, im-
mune to paid we would see it
as crabs, arms trunks sur-
prised if nicked not flesh feeling
an agony. Their grubbiness

is our 'structure or design'
though. I turn
on sunset unrecorded had
I had myself
no use for it - black storm
but horizon opening turquoise
to a slash. As un-
affected by a record
as I would be later, setting
paper alight from a match, puffing
flame up on handbellows used
so bark and kindling near it could
catch fire.
                       I head west

to dusk at hill wood's
under-ridge, inadvertently
circling the town and missing the local
pub. Backtracked
in mulch of autumn leaves, crispness
through damp. The town

has not got much but has got it
now. Cold smorgasbord - add
salad, tinned bean mix, buttered
roll on a plate to go with grilled
fish. Some money for it. Black
coffee sweet in glass of cherry
brandy - at television screen's
reflector blurring images off
to the corners on side view. Turn
to thump cannon-thud on clicks
as the locals play pool.
                                      Climb

up wood staircase. Untuck stiff
sheets. Work the creaking old
bed springs. Join closing time

in the house sounds under sleep.

 

 

AFTER THE EQUINOX

                                     The bells full
of rain through the air above
the cathedral. Lack of
solidity in the time past and
of now. I walk the sparse

grass to mud boundary by
the playing fields onto whatever times
there are, into the temporariness
of the past, slither, no
foothold. And call the days

back - onto moment
from forwards - and watch the dark
set, noonday on, no
wind, lit mist hangs
in twilight - fog bodies
wet ground. Clearing. Hum

of stars rung on far
off from earshot. I watch the night

crystallize out of resonance
in bells.

 

from Longhouse 1989-1990 edited by Bob Arnold / 1 of 250 numbers. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

M. J. Bender


from VERSUS I


Bett Paradee (1930-1974)


point
at the edge

the next row

where
again of
unhallowed
ground she turns

down the
field

year

depends
on rites of
planting
yield

of cleared land

to plow

between

the barn
and back fence

~

(1785-1872)

Sam
Hodgkins
hayward

stayed

where house
and trees
heap

of stones
stood
to farm

the lot fence
bends

~

Black Ash
corn

borders
Northern White
Flint

barbwire
bends around

mound of stones

~

(1785-1872)

till

head furrow
tends

horizon

loose earth

graves

his rough farm

labor is a rite

unleashing
turns

ancestral

~

(1803-1879) (11/30/87)

sweepings I
place at the stone

where the words

on your grave
from the house
you raised

frame posts
floor beams

wide pine boards

remain unreadable

~

rites of the threshing

floor

ground

of ice and sea

horizon of the field

shifts

~

Cups

pull

of the moon
bends the field

I walk the bulge

~

February 16

I will dig
the trench Sea of
Cold
at your grave
before the sowing
let you
wash your flesh

I will pour
the water wait
like snow
bound fields who
know you are
to die or marry

~

(1930-1974)

she circled the field
behind the 1020

pulled

hard
around the bulge

flux around the stones
mouth
eye

headstone
swell of
plowland she withstands

~

(1949 -)

allow the pain
ground

and skin of air
your touch

cold I smear

pitch
on the door

of my house
passions of earth
body and mouth

~

Bruce Paradee (1940 -)

lifting
fieldstones

till

feel

the touch
pull

in your
chest

ice
scoured

edge
you turn

back
to the mound

~

before the
rain

bloom

timothy
and bromegrass
dew

finished
in the window

from Longhouse 1989-1990 edited by Bob Arnold / 1 of 250 numbers. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

Gael Turnbull

MORE AMOROUS GREETINGS

 

IN TERMS OF
POLARITIES

No fret about "Negative"
or "Neutral", even "Earth" -

when the connection's alive
between two positives.

 

IN TERMS OF
AN EXTENDED METAPHOR

As when
after hours in the fields,
dust and chaff in my throat,
I draw the bucket up from the well
and feel water against my lips

so it is
after days here alone
when I hear footsteps on the stair
and the door opens and there is
that first assurance that it's you.

 

IN TERMS OF
NOT FORGETTING AN ANNIVERSARY

No chance of getting it wrong
when every greeting's a celebration.

 

IN TERMS OF
THAT OLD FAMILIAR MAGIC

Don't believe them when they say
the paranormal isn't normal -
when you've only to walk into the room
and it happens every time.

 

IN TERMS OF
BEING ASKED WHAT I'D LIKE FOR MY BIRTHDAY

To go somewhere
or do something
I've never before

just provided
it's with you
as ever once more.

 

IN TERMS OF
AN AVANT-GARDE MANIFESTO

"Tout bouge!" declared Tinguely
"Nothing's static. . . welcome change!"
- but what startles most
is how surprise doesn't fade.

first published by Longhouse 1999. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

Carol Berge

 unfinished poem

to go out
              to the world
this time dressed as a
japanese printmaker,
not the eye of
epicanthus, but
                       yes,
perspective
as that of an island:
out, out into a world,
to find it earth! and
more simple, complex
than it seemed:
                       reducible
to a few lines with
shadings, the wood
to its grain
rather than to the
external form.
                       what
part of earth are you!
and after that, to
go out,
perhaps dressed as a
haida shaman,
                       finding it
all ocean! and
strewn with cowry: lines
across sand.
                       once,
the land bridged.
let it
                       be an earth color:
orange of hematite or
dark as vital loam
where rivers are,
                       or blue
of roots from
the parched mesas,
                       saved
distillate of rain
toward one hand.
but always
                       as this rug:
woven
of wool from a real sheep,
alive, shorn with shears
and dyed
                       perhaps with berries
until brilliant, or
                       left so:
the soft natural.
but always
                       fashioned with
eyes, with hands,
as friends’ faces, worn or
young: with the
nature of it
                       evident,
brought
                       out.

first published by Longhouse 2006. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

 

Ian Hamilton Finlay

from SOME THINGS

C   ompact

R   ectinlear

A   romatic

T   ouching

E   phemeral

~

D   reaming

O   f

O   pen-plan

R   ooms

~

H   eaven

O   rders

E   arth

first published by Longhouse 1995. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

Thomas A. Clark

String

ropes of heather
weighted with stones
to anchor a thatch
of rushes and heather

 

a white plastic bag
flapping in the wind
to scare the birds
from a string of fish
drying in the sun

 

a string plucked to leave
a line of yellow chalk

 

for clematis
and vine

green twist
two ply
garden twine

 

the ampersand is a knot
tying two parts of a discourse
sea & land, adventure & homecoming
subject & object

 

if you pull on it
everything that is
attached to it
will come with it

 

when you are hopeful
you are still the boy
who stood by the burn
hopefully, a hook
at the end of a string

 

saxifrage & campion
rock & torrent
loss & consolidation

 

with reef knots
with draw knots
tied to you

tied to you
with slip knots
with clove hitch

 

every tug on the rope
only tightens the splice

 

whatever is wrapped
in paper and string
may be unwrapped
from string and paper

 

blackbirds have stolen
the coloured twine
you tied round
the rowan saplings

first published by Longhouse 2006. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

 

Jonathan Greene

 

from Hummingbird's Water Trough

 

The butterfly camouflaged
in the flowers —

a flower with wings
flying off.

~

SO MANY


So many thaws,
so many freezes,
until this flowering

~

We have paid off
the mortgage
on this life.

Now it is just
food & taxes
& the high cost of art.of the human heart.

~

WHAT THE TREETOPS WHISPER


For a second
or two

the rain on the
hillside

murmuring its message
through the leaves

before
it rains on us.

~

Dew on the
morning glory —

a hummingbird’s
water trough.

 

first published by Longhouse 2003. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

 

from The Death Of A Kentucky Coffee-Tree

& Other Poems

Soft honeysuckle wind —
almost has a taste to it....

~

Groomed from when it was a sprout,
the river sycamore —
ospreys’ dwelling.

~

THE DEATH OF A KENTUCKY COFFEE-TREE


Fallen, the large tree
that owned this domain.
Its root ball — flesh-colored
arthritic spikes
that had dug in for its
goodly time.

Seeing daylight
synonyms death.

Saplings that had stunted
in its shadow sing hallelujahs,

 

BY THE OCEAN


The wave that knocked you silly
now a small puddle
waiting for high tide
to catch a ride back
into immensity.compete for new light.

 

KENTUCKY RIVER PALISADES


Water is a sculptor
carving this limestone edifice,
working with haphazard weather,
meticulously searching for weakness
in rock. It will take ten generations
to note the next stroke of genius.

 

STAYING POWER
July 4th celebrations, 2005


Fireworks
among fireflies.

Fireworks more showy tonight.
Tomorrow night, the fireflies win.

 

first published by Longhouse 2006. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

Sappho

WEE ONES

drawn out of Mary Barnard's versions by Cid Corman

1/

You make me think
of a sweet
girl seen once
picking flowers



2/

Spring dusk

Full moon
Girls seem

to be

circling
around

a shrine



3/

As a gust
shakes oak does
love my heart 



4/

Come and I'll
have fresh pillows
for your rest


5/

Overjoyed
yes, praying
for such a
night again



6/

No moan

Means the
Muses
richly
endowed
me with
no joke

Death wont
let me
be for
gotten



7/

If you
dont like trouble
dont disturb
sand



8/

Am I to
remind you,
dear

that complaint
aint right where
poetry

lives?



9/

Forget it
But listen -
you will be
thought of yet

first published by Longhouse 2003. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

Cid Corman from Subluna

It is not for me to say whether the hoarse, strident, searching, verse that marks today is merely a young cynicism or an old dejection. There is a music in older voices that cling to men's minds, while now there is a wild order, a chaos of personal images that are lost to the listening reader. There is a suddenness: something spasmodic and brief about our poetry: the print of our time.

Still, there is room for music: poetry that fills with song and meaning, that we have heard before. We may use a new idiom, a new tongue, and new mannerisms, but a poem should still sing and live.

~ Cid Corman, from the preface to his first book Subluna: twelve poems written during 1943-44 when the poet was just turning twenty years old.

 

 

JÁNOS PILINSZKY
Translated by Cid Corman

VEIL

There is no sun.
There is no moon.
And no childhood.
And above all no land, no mother-land.

There is no coffin and no homeland.
No cradle and no bed made,
death settled under our heads.

One who lives is on a pin point,
and our peace itself is nothing
but a busted worthless wing,
a bride's veil, off or not,
lost upon a nail.

Dangles.

We dangle.

No graveyard.

First published by Longhouse 2003. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

 

LAURENT GRISEL
MEMORIES ON THE WAY

After Reignac

just above this path
I slept
near some thickets
dreamless
noiseless.

 

Villedomain

under sheet metal
deprived of stars
near a dog tied up
on hay
I keep an eye out
the night broken.

 

Near Vayres

not alone
in high grass
I line up my shoes
and passing a treeless night
at daybreak
I am wet through.

 

for F.H.

lost in the house
the shadows are news
the house rustles up
unknown sounds
it's lovely outside
but we don't want to go out
for everything here is new.

~

so
with all my attention
the cat.

 

from only 50 numbers printed at Longhouse in the "Just So Happens" series July 1995, translated by Cid Corman. Folded booklet. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

SINGING ALONG WITH SENGAI
Translations by Cid Corman

1/

Crown or grid iron --
there's nothing to think about --
only all to use.

2/

Over Everest
the same old moon shares its light
as clear as ever
but only for eyes ready
to see the darkness clearer.

3/

Moon empty
sky shine
water deepened
darkness

4/

Yes or no --
good or bad --
you have come

to this house.
Here is your
tear -- your cake.

5/

Wind sweeping
the willow
and willow

the wind but
neither can
be brushed off.

6/

Just resting --
letting the breezes make

a thing of
a body --

First published by Longhouse 1997. Available from Longhouse Bookshop

MICHAEL CORR

UGUISU CALLS

Kyoto

temple sweeping

uguisu calls

 

Takao

two answering

uguisu calls

 

Hanasse

through wet grass

uguisu calls

 

Ashibidani

gorgelost

uguisu calls

 

Old

gone mad with singing

uguisu calls

 

uguisu - nightingale
Takao and Hanasse - mountain villages near Kyoto
Ashibidani - "Leg Gorge", north of Hanasse

 

first published as a broadside by Longhouse February 1976 / newly published 2006. Please inquire as to availability poetry@sover.net

PHILIPPE DENIS

Selections from Nugae

1.

I was present this morning when a
blossoming tree sweetly escaped.

For what refusal or acquiescence
was the head of the tree nodding
over my page?

 

3.

 

However the wind diminish us, re-
duces us to a thread, to learn in
our deserts, to learn to ride a
grain of sand.

 

I am banged up against the horizon.

 

6.

 

Oneself in a thousand flashes bursting
the thousand flashes.

 

To pass in one's life at a gust of wind
then awaken ahead of oneself a point. The
swiftness of such a task lets this sky
be neglected!

 

8.

 

The word snow used wildly.
I feel the difficulty of it.

 

Those mornings when we toss about
on one wing!

 

9.

 

To be enchantingly alone. But does
that make any sense?

 

What we are, we are, most of the time,
thanks to what hasnt completely occurred.

 

12.

 

There are pages which more than all
others express us. Some - witness to
our fatigues - will remain blank;
others - witness to our laziness - will
be those where, by negligence, we
shall have triumphed.

 

Translated by Cid Corman

 

First published by Longhouse 2001. Available from Longhouse Bookshop


EUGENIO MONTALE

 

Bring me the sunflower to transplant
in my soil parched by the salt air,
and let it show all day to the mirroring blues
of the sky the yearning of its yellowy face.

Things obscure tend to clarity,
exhaust their bodies in a flowing
of colors: these in musics. To fade
is thus the venture of ventures.

Bring me (dear) the plant that leads to
where blond transparencies arise
and life evaporates as essence;
bring me the sunflower crazed by light.

Translated by Cid Corman

First published by Longhouse 2005. Available from Longhouse Bookshop


BARBARA MORAFF


how women praise

for Lorine Niedecker: 1903-1970

Lorine, would you cut
my stanzas, trim
my fatty nouns,
un-
      swamp
black waters
of this riv-

er?

Lorine, Lorine, Lorine...
Wisconsin's
                  word-heroine
you sang of flood
            & pump-valves
you poked through skunk-cabbage
Spring, never denying bitter
edges & cold iron
of empty nights
you also sang of Darwin
& everyman's need to follow
his life through
to the Source
yet your neighbors thought you
only the woman who washed
hospital floors
& they did see one who walked
primly in her black cloth
coat
as if oblivious to the driving
snowflake hordes.

O under pressure
even water thickens
into quartz
thunder,

Lorine, Lorine, Lorine...
I am dazzled
by your

example.


~



                             
for CID


this poem is like the rosebranch's
      shaking
            after the bird has flown


~


IMAGINE


Townies call me Indian, Jew, Buddha-ist,
No red rock jewel mountain stronghold here.
That's my house...the one snow
is still falling on
though legally it's Spring.
Busted window admits it & warped doorframe
opens the door to wind during night,
an invitation I cannot refuse to attend to.
Rednecks drive up in second gear, whining, on their
6-packs, rifles hung upside down on racks
up rear window of their Dodge RAM. Knock loudly
on the door, it opens, & ask me do I have any
cigarettes to sell. Shuffling inside their
plaids like shy bears.
Midnight.
A change from chanting sutras, to be sure.
I speak very plainly because my terror is cautious.
We all know what really
inside a woman moves for pleasure. I send my
trembling to a moon not visible. A woman must learn
to pull against gravity without obstructing
the flow of her own nature, of space
      in which all
                        things have equal
dominion.
I know their faces, have watched them lurch
at the back of town meeting. I know what
they signify.
But this pain we share I would not.
We want some of your poetry, one from the truck calls.
I say Imagine
and shut the door.


~


found poem no. 2

strut, girl,

you ain't got

no other car.



~

from You've Got Me, Barbara Moraff (edited with an appreciation by Bob Arnold) as "Scout, spring 1987" issued in 125 numbers. Available from Longhouse Bookshop


JOHN MARTONE

 

 

                 Polyphony.
None (no one) struggles.
At rest.

         ~ Theodore Enslin

praying
mantis

faces
sunset

many
sparrows
know

my
secret
street

sparrows
sparrows
sparrows

old man
also

fall
trees
turn

house
stays

feed
pine trees

pot
basil
&

rose
mary
&

later
hang

storm
windows

alone
a shame

to light
furnace

my
hotplate

my
wooden
spoon

& my
2 quart
saucepan

dreaming
one street over they speak vietnamese
 bundles of mail at an unopened door

washing
out

flower
pots

on a
fall day

wash skillet
turn compost
feed cornbread
to sparrows

in dress pants
& cardigan

carrying
my shovel

my house

full of trees

my tree house

from tree house by John Martone, published by Longhouse, 2005. Available from Longhouse Bookshop


FRED JEREMY SELIGSON

 

Just lean against
cherry blossom trunk
to write this

 

Wind, voices
blowing
through
blossoms

 

No bag needed
w/ all these
poetry pockets

 

Doesn't see me sitting
­ that's a very big blue,
gold-winged bird

 

White petals
mark a stripe
on this dirt road

 

Can't see temple
for the blossoms

 

Somewhere
down there
water's trickling

 

Down there
through pines
azalea pinks

 

Smell's
getting
stronger ­
all combined
flowers

 

3 paths
like veins
meeting
your beating
heart

 

Pumpkin bee
can't get around,
nor can I ­ sits
on arm, "Hey
it's not your flower!''

 

A petal bridge
across

from Cherry Blossoms by Fred Jeremy Seligson, published by Longhouse, 2004. Available from Longhouse Bookshop


SHIZUMI CORMAN

 


 

 

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