Rage trimmed of its earnest
Is panache, a mud-daub’d
Cock in a quiver, feather’d.
Is a joke uninhibit’d, attainable,
A potlatch-pole surround’d by
Offal and guttings, property-heaps.
I am the Cloud Burrower,
One of the Puny Ones
Who work hard and knock
Off finials, preen-figures, hats.
To the platitudinous spigot-noise
Of the pencil-boys whose
Beast-empire thrashes out oil-
Shiny blood-bubbles, I say
‘Wa, I am a Kwakiutl.
Wa, out of my way.’
Olson, in a letter (1952) to common-law wife Constance Wilcock writes of “ONE OF MY SEVERAL FLYPAPERS!—where I learn so much by continuing to permit my bewilderment to exist.” And there it is. For all of Olson’s wild thrashings in historical-textual wildernesses, for all the stutter-stop incoherences of the prose, syntactical mayhem result of, I suspect, some complex of “too long in the Pound-Gemeinschaft”—that is, an “image” problem (and sophomoric), and the “lazy thinking” all form-workers fall prey to (herein inexcludable—I get my fun where Olson got it)—for all that, Olson’s genius is exactly in that “bewilderment,” that insatiable gust-hunger for “facts.” And it’s that that is so rare today—the “replacement model” a kind of petulant know-nothingism. Whilst the beast in its oil-covetousness attempts to crush everything to itself. Olson’s one paragraph opening to a letter to “LeRoi Jones”:
Use a world so large.—
On the Pound hand-me-downs and “coherence.” Writing to Paul Blackburn in 1953, who seems to’ve pegged Olson an offspring of WCW, Olson’s hackle-anxiety is up. Retorts:
In other words, the virtue of the fathers are the vicesAnd drops it. (Olson’s habit of beginning a new paragraph: “Ok.” Sign of the sudden lack of tensile strength—liable to snap off—of whatever previous wire the big man’s danced out along, testily, testingly . . .) And, too, to Blackburn, regarding difficulty:
of the sons. Or something. Nuts: if the pa’s were as good as these (I
must have grabbed my paternity out of the air
(((the same air)))
The hazard, anyhow.
to prevent the reader is crucially theA flurry of thinking here: does “reality” “interrupt herself”? or is one’s ratty receiver the fault (and one looks to re-transmit that, honorably enough). Why am I suddenly remind’d of Jorie Graham’s interminable hemmings and hawings: or any claims to mimic-transcribe (dashes and stutter-steps the usual futile rigmarole) such bad reception of the “out” coming in? And how I want to posit against all that the Mallarméan / WCW dictum how a poem is “made of words” (not staticky blockages and feints). Eyeuh.
means of the beauty of such a practice—to reach the response i take it
is called for
there is never any purposeful prevention. Au
contraire. The preventions are—it wld be my experience—exactly the
way reality does interrupt herself, cross-cut, go below anything explicit,
even of the other sense than the verbal
(exactly the way a poem does
when you talk of digestion first, i hear exactly the aesthetic seems to me
to have exposed itself
not, for god’s sake, that i thing i have proved, or
can, that one can take language (which is itself an extrication) and make it
a rail on which anyone else will ride . . .