Sunday, April 25, 2010

Va Va Voom!

The Best of (What’s Left of) Heaven
Mairéad Byrne

(Baltimore: Publishing Genius, 2010)

The energy of the poetry universe, no less than in the universe itself, is an ever-present cavalcade of astonishingly diverse ways and forms. Every poetry collection harnesses a bit this awesome procession, and better yet, adds to it: poets are dynamos that generate amperes and joules, each charged by their own particular flow.

Such were my thoughts upon reading the just published The Best of (What’s Left of) Heaven, by Mairéad Byrne. With 208 pages and only slightly fewer number of poems, the energy here is huge. It’s also spectacular, including irresistible. I received the book in the mail this past Friday, started it that night, read more early Saturday morning, finished it that night, and immediately started in again. I’ve already book-marked dozens of pages, so as to more easily return to the poems that really, really send me, and I add more every time I re-read the book.

A few months ago I came across the e-chap version of Byrne’s State House Calendar, and really liked it (click here to read what I wrote about that poem). At around the same time, I discovered her blog (called “Heaven”), on which she’s been posting poems – her own – for the past seven years. As its title indicates, The Best of (What’s Left of) Heaven prints a selection of poems from the blog. It’s important, I think, to get these poems into print, especially given how hard it is to find particular posts in Blogger (its search function is very spotty). Plus, it’s nice to have a real book to have at hand and carry around.


“I just want to kick the leaves
& have done”

Byrne largely puts her poetics heart right (write) on the page:

if he knew me
I don’t want to be great

it takes me 10 minutes
to write a poem

& then

I want to whisper or
shout it about

My poems are usually brief
they resemble each other
they are anecdotal
they do not extend themselves
they make no great claims
they connect small things to other small things


I just want to kick the leaves
& have done

As you may know (although I didn’t at first), the reference to Donald Hall in the title in part relates to the “kick the leaves” lines in her concluding couplet. Hall has a poem titled “Kicking the Leaves” that begins with him doing just that, an act that results in a seven-section, three plus page poem that to me is more than a bit over-mannered, sentimental, overly-meditative on subjects as large as death, and interminable (click here to read Hall’s poem). Byrne of course, with her “have done with it,” takes a far different approach with her leaves.

Although many-chaptered (in its way), this particular ars poetica doesn’t cover everything. Byrne’s poetics contains multitudes. In addition to what she says above, Byrne in other poems in the book explicitly or implicitly establishes that when it comes to poetry she’s “profligate” (her word), free-spirited, enthusiastic, funny, deeply caring, and smart. She’s also a true believer in poetry, both as a independent power and as a sun in her world. Maybe most important, Byrne sees poetry – finds it – everywhere, in anything.

I could show you exactly how all this is so, by setting out and discussing poem after poem from The Best of (What’s Left of) Heaven. However, that would be overly lawyerly, a trait which has its place but not here, not now. Besides, I don’t want to spoil the fun you’ll have once you get the book (which I do hope you will do).

Nevertheless, in the sections of this post that follow, I will unpack a few of the above-listed characteristics of Byrne’s poetry, using to illustrate and discuss the matters a few of the poems that on first reading particularly popped my eyes stuck in my mind.


The first thing I want to stress is Byrne’s “everywhere” and “anything” conception of poetry. She has, for example, poems that stem from observations of daily weather, incidents of daily life in the city (Providence) where she lives, and things that happen in her home and where she teaches. And poems too that come from the obituaries in the paper, or taxidermy manuals, or a speech by Martin Luther King. Poems that instruct, poems that are dedications, poems that spin the language of the everyday dross into lines of silk, and, . . . do you see what I mean?

Let me elaborate a bit more. One of the poems in the book, PLANNING THE POETRY READING (Byrne’s titles sometimes are all caps). It seems to be a kind of set-list for a reading. It consists of 18 lines, most of which begin, “A poem about . . . .” After that or a similar start, each line then gives the basic subject of each of the poems that Byrne would presumably recite at the reading. The list includes poems about “glorious routine,” “poverty,” “being a single parent,” “metaphor,” “Louis Armstrong, ” and “a scrubbie,” plus about a dozen other different things. This is a very wide range of topics and sure enough such poems, and plenty others on plenty else, can be found, either in The Best of (What’s Left of) Heaven or Byrne’s other books (see in particular Talk Poetry, her 2007 collection of prose poems).

Byrne’s seeking and finding of poetry everywhere becomes contagious. I kid you not, after reading Byrne’s book early this morning I saw a poem in the toothpaste cap, felt another in the scrape of the razor, and heard still others almost everywhere.


Charles Reznikoff

Byrne’s a big fan, I do believe, of Charles Reznikoff’s work. One poem in the new book takes the form of an (imagined) short interview with him. Byrne elsewhere has said that she’s surprised “that Charles Reznikoff isn’t more of a household name,” and an on-line syllabus of hers (she now teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design) includes selections from both Testimony and Holocaust, Reznikoff’s poetic re-castings of facts found in legal reports.

I too love Reznikoff (click here for an example of that). And so you can imagine how much I enjoyed the following poem in The Best of (What’s Left of) Heaven, given that it is very close to the vision and method of objectivist concision the Reznikoff worked so well. Of course, Byrne’s poem arises from her own particular experience, but it nicely works in the just-the-facts, so-much-depends-upon tradition. Here it is, title and text:

the red light
holds steady
while the plane
—miles above—
makes its incision
in the sky
This little poem, beautiful as can be, doesn’t need much analysis. I love that there are two intersections, one at the street where the poet waits, and the one comprised of what the poet sees both there and in the mind. Excellent too is the visual poetry of the double-hyphened line, its look reflecting neatly that which it describes.


“In-flight movies!”

Now who doesn’t like a good night’s sleep? Byrne sure must, that’s for sure. Here’s a poem that takes the form of a series of advertising hype-slogans that in this instance are actually true. It’s also a poem that shows well Byrne’s humor, energy, and enthusiasm:

Free of charge!
Luxury item!
In your own home!
In-flight movies!
No skills needed!
Be your own boss!
Better than sex!
No calories!
This poem appears in “everyday lunacy,” an early section of The Best of (What’s Left of) Heaven. Towards the end of the book there’s another section, titled “everything unlikely,” that contains almost two dozen prose poems. One of those has a few sentences that I think carries forward the celebration of slumberland that is SLEEP! In her prose poem, titled TIME, Byrne has a paragraph that focuses specifically, and winningly, on the hypnagogic, that state between waking and sleeping championed by, among others, Edgar Allan Poe:
When I go to bed early, time is a smooth table, with the prospect of music, books, poems, sleep, hovering like blimps above it. Sitting on the doorstep of sleep is the greatest luxury. The sun always shines in that country. The stoop is so bleached with it, it is made of sun.
Now that’s one fiery way to see that moment when we fall to sleep, to envision the threshold where – to quote Poe – “the absoluteness of novelty” blazes, and imagination can fully shine.


Given the month that Byrne’s book appears – that’s this month – it’s especially appropriate to look lastly here today at a poem titled “light in april.” Really, though, I’d put it here anyway. It’s a beautiful looking poem, spread over two pages, and beautifully made too, built of observations presumably made over the 30 days of some April past. Here’s the poem’s text – please click on the image to enlarge, and forgive the fuzziness of the scan:

This poem – “light in april”– radiates Byrne’s intelligence, the quality and skill of her eyes, mind, and writing. I believe fully the many-faceted range of illuminations – mostly tending towards the resplendent but sometimes dreary enough – that Byrne reports here, and which I have no doubt she saw and felt day-to-day. As I previously wrote when discussing Byrne’s State House Calendar, I love poets who in the words of Frank Samperi “mind the light.” Byrne here certainly does that, gloriously so.


There’s plenty other poems in Byrne’s book with spirit, skill, and energy similar to those I’ve discussed here. This post could continue for at least another dozen sections, discussing two or three poems in each. I think though that my point has been made. But just in case, permit me please to summarize, via the following bit of rhetorical call and response:
The Best of (What’s Left of) Heaven?





Mairéad Byrne


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quick (really!) and really (really!) good

Joseph Massey
Mock Orange

(Longhouse Publishing, 2010)

Late last month as spring began Joseph Massey sat down in Humboldt County, California — where he lives and works — and wrote a sequence of nine poems.

Around March 27th, Massey e-mailed his poems to Bob and Susan Arnold in Green River, Vermont, asking if they’d be interested in publishing them. As you probably know, the Arnolds are the long-time proprietors of Longhouse, a small scale/big vision publishing and bookshop operation.

The Arnolds said, “Let’s do it” and then did, justlikethat. Over the next few days, they designed, printed, neatly glued, and otherwise did what was needed to get Massey’s poems out to the world. On April 7th, the resulting three color fold-out booklet (4.5" x 3") with wrap-around band was listed for sale on the Longhouse web-site. That same day, I ordered up two copies, using Paypal to transfer the cash.

Longhouse must have filled and sent my order quickly (no surprise there!) because yesterday (Monday, April 12th) the mail carrier delivered their business-sized envelope to me at work in Berkeley. Massey’s Mock Orange – that’s the title of the work – was in hand.

How’s that for blending a bit of the timeless (the diligence of poet and publisher), the new (the internet), and the old (snail mail) to bring about something quick (really!) and really (really!) good? I mean, it’s less than three weeks since Massey sat down and wrote Mock Orange. And yet here are his poems, in a beautiful little booklet, having traveled from California’s North Coast to Southeastern Vermont then back across the country to the Bay Area. Wow! Belatedness be damned!


I’m nuts for Massey’s writing. Last April I wrote about his Areas of Fog (click here, if you please), and later included it on my list of the year’s top five poetry books (click here). I also called his The Lack Of, published in December, the chapbook of the year (click here and scroll down a touch).

So when Mock Orange arrived, I read it right away. It didn’t take long: its nine untitled poems range from four to ten lines. I read it again on the train coming home, and a few times more last night. Getting up this morning, I decided to do this post tonight, fast as I could, to honor the spirit of this (really!) quick and really (really!) good book (well, at least I’m quick).


satellite view -- Arcata (in fog), the bay, the ocean

Massey’s poems, and those in Mock Orange are no exception, mostly come from the particular place he’s at, the actual geographic/physical location. He lives in what might rightly be called an adequate enough shack (I visited Massey there last fall, for a couple hours), situated on a rise or hillock just a mile or two from Humboldt/Arcata Bay, and a bit further from the Pacific. He can walk to the center of Arcata, and via bus or other ride get to Eureka, the county seat a few miles south. Many perceived particulars, from right at or near home or the more general area, get into and maybe sometimes give rise to his poems.

But Massey’s poems also come from the particular place he’s at with regard to – among other things – modes of perception, ways of thinking, maybe how he feels, and approaches to making poems. This mix of what’s within (the head, the emotions, the words) and without (things perceived) is of course what it’s all about. As Rae Armantrout has said, “The best poetry is looking outward and inward at the same time. A poet, like any artist, just doesn’t feel satisfied with the world; a poet has to answer the world, not just be a passive receiver.”


The results of this outward/inward mix, in Massey’s work, are usually intense. Because the poems are short, there’s no wandering or fluff. They are hot. The poems are also intense because – follow me here – Massey has a particular attraction for particulars that convey some particular moment. His poems, including those here in Mock Orange, seem mostly to convey a moment, one of (to list some that I sense in these poems) definition, recognition, loss, doubt, and wonder.

Ultimately, all the possibilities of the mind and the world might make a poem for Massey, if there’s something that gives rise to it. He gives special attention, I think it fair to say, to moments of thought, of perception. It’s like each poem, no matter how small, is a double-shot of some intense instant, realized in words. It’s very invigorating, a rush of specificity and alertness. This is all the more special here because it all comes from just about right now -- this spring -- just a few weeks ago.


I’m going to share and discuss a bit just one poem from Mock Orange. I don’t want to give away Massey’s (or his publisher’s) goods, and I want to keep this post quick, in the spirit of the poem-writing and booklet-making. Here’s the fifth poem in the sequence, one of the shortest of the nine. The poem has two primary images, with a kind of pause in between, and so it works in a way that is similar to haiku:

                    docks swallowed
                                                  in fog—

                    a transient talks
                                                  into a pine cone—

Now that has one heck of a (call it killer) final image: who can’t picture the street person there? This poem works mostly in the frisson and maybe friction between that image and the one that precedes it. I’m not going to parse it out fully (and probably couldn’t even I wanted to) but somehow the two images seem to go together. Part of it is Massey doing a bit of sleight of hand (and eye), putting the same extended hyphen at the end of each line, resulting in an unusual visual rhyme -- the punctuation -- that links the two couplets (those hyphens also permit the respective images to remain open, forever). There’s also a connection given the rhyme of “docks” and “talks,” and perhaps also in the anatomically close pharyngeal / laryngeal locus of “swallowed” and “talks.” There’s also in both images, and maybe this is the most significant link, disappearance: the docks into a mist, the words into the cone. What sub-surface elegance there, in that uncommon juxtaposition!

And maybe that’s what this poem is about, a moment of connection between the two seemingly disparate observations. But there also seems to be a tension between the two images. The second image is unexpected after the more traditional poetic image that comes first. The disjunction’s fairly severe, actually. Reading it several times the last two days, I sometimes laugh at the weirdness of it, of the idea of somebody talking to a pine cone popping into the poem there. Yet talking to a pine cone might not be so funny, in that it may be a snapshot of (let’s say) schizophrenia. As such, it disturbs too. Does Massey suggest, or at least ask us to consider the possibility, that “docks swallowed / in fog—” is as much a delusion as talking to a cone? Is this a poem about doubt, with the second image undercutting the poeticizing of landscape embodied in its first image? Hmm. So it goes in these poems, seemingly simple but with possibilities coming through once the reading gets close and the ideas start spinning.


There are eight other poems in Mock Orange, and each is a – forgive me, I’ve used the following term before about Massey’s poems, but it works here too – a gem. There’s one – # viii – that can be read as one short (eight line) poem or almost as three separate smaller poems, given how it’s arranged and spaced; its shape also neatly matches the perception presented. Another (# iv) convincingly turns the afternoon haze into a kind of ocean surf. Two others (# vi and the final poem, # ix) show how an observation, something seen, can animate the most unassuming of places, at least (especially) if the poet’s words can get it down right. And these are just a part of this really (really!) good and (really!) quick booklet.



The description regarding the writing and publication of Mock Orange is based on information found in Joseph Massey’s April 7, 2010 blog post (click here and scroll down), and Bob Arnold’s April 11, 2010 blog post (click then scroll here, if you please).

Mock Orange is available at the Longhouse website (click here, it’s the sixth book down from the top). The price is $8.95 plus $2.00 for shipping/handling in the US. It’s also available via ABE (click here), although with a higher shipping charge.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Reading (part 2) The Collected Poems of Larry Eigner










There are many pathways through the magnificent garden that is The Collected Poems of Larry Eigner (Stanford University Press, 2010). I’ve previously written about Eigner’s marvelous poems-from-the-news (click here if you please). Today I discuss and share a few examples of another fascinating subset of work in the books: poems that have but one word per line.

There are thirty-four (34) such poems among the 3,000 plus in The Collected Eigner. These one word-per-line poems excite me for a couple reasons. First, they are compelling evidence of a change in Eigner’s work that took place after 1970 or so.

In this regard, I was puzzled a few weeks ago when one of the editors of the Stanford four volume set concluded an essay by writing that Eigner’s “[p]oems written in the early 1950’s seem very like those written 40 years later” and that Eigner’s “poems – in style and approach – look remarkably like each other, separated by decades.”

I must disagree. To me, many poems written after 1970 don’t “look remarkably like” those completed by Eigner earlier in his career. Even just eyeballing the books, there’s an obvious tilt in Eigner’s last approximately 25 years towards poems – lines – of an even greater sparseness.

I write “even greater sparseness” purposely, to emphasize that the post-1970 change was a continuation, a refinement (though a striking one), of what Eigner had always done. From the start he almost always wrote poems of very short lines, hardly ever writing in long Whitman-esque (or Ginsberg “Howl”-like) lines crammed with words. In the 1950s and 1960s, poems with average words-per-line counts ranging from approximately 2.25 to 4.00 (or so) are typical for Eigner, and it’s quite common for those poems to include a good number of single-word lines.

Let’s look at a specific example, the untitled poem with “Again dawn” as its first line. Written in November 1959, it’s probably one of Eigner’s most read poems. A phrase from it was used as the title for his 1967 break-through Fulcrum Press collection (another time in fragments), and the poem was also included in Eigner’s Selected Poems, published five years later. In 1993, the full poem was posted in humongous letters on the outside of the University Art Museum in Berkeley. Here it is, scanned and slightly enlarged from the Stanford edition:
“Again Dawn” has – you can count ‘em – 29 words in its 12 lines, or (do the math) an average of 2.41 words-per-line. It also includes three single-word lines. All this is more-or-less typical of what Eigner wrote in the 1950s and 1960s, except that the words-per-line count is at the low end of the range of what you’ll find in those poems. By any measure, it’s very spare poetry.

But the spareness of Eigner’s poetry gets taken to a whole different place after around 1970. After approximately that date, Eigner wrote large numbers of poems that are measurably sparer than those written in the previous two decades. In this regard, the poems with but one word per line are Exhibit A.

Between 1950 and 1970, Eigner wrote no poems – zero – that exclusively used single word lines. In contrast, after 1970 he wrote a total of 43, with one or more written most every year between 1971 and 1992.

[A complete chronological list of all 43 one word-per-line poems is presented at the end of this post, for those who have or intend to get the books, or check them out in or from a library (currently, twenty libraries are listed as holding a copy of The Collected Eigner: click here to see). I highly recommend these books, despite the shifting of the left-side margins (click here) and the resulting challenge some may thus encounter (click here).]

Similar disparities in numbers of poems before and after circa 1970 can be seen if essentially any words-per-line average below 2.0 is used as the measuring standard. Consider, for example, Eigner poems that are almost but not quite entirely comprised of one-word lines. Among these are poems with five words over four lines (i.e, an average 1.25 words-per-line), six over five (an average of 1.20 words-per-line), and similar configurations, including 11 words, 9 lines (1.22), 15/13 (1.15), and 22/18 (1.22) -- these all actual totals taken from Eigner poems.

Again, I’ve done the counting and calculating. Before 1970, Eigner wrote only five poems that average 1.3 or fewer words per line (these were written in 1959, 1966, 1967, and two in 1969, respectively). In contrast – and again, I’ve counted them and could if called on specifically list them – Eigner wrote at least 59 such poems from 1970 forward, in addition to the 34 poems that contain only single word lines.

And there’s more! In the first two decades of Eigner’s work there are only a handful of poems – if that many – that average less than two words per line. In contrast, from 1970 on there are dozens of poems that average more than 1.3 words-per-line (and thus are not included in the totals given above) but nevertheless still average well under 2.0 words per line. These include poems of four words over three lines, or eight over six (1.33 words-per-line, as in Eigner ## 1663 and 983 ', respectively), and those, to take a couple of random (but real) examples, 26 words over 19 lines (1.36 words-per-line, as in # 976) and 29 over 21 (an average of 1.38, as in Eigner # 1042). Or for that matter, poems with nine words over six lines or 15 over 10 (an average of 1.5 words-per-line, as in for example, ## 429 and 464, respectively).

These statistics, admittedly, are hugely pedantic. Even, dare I say, legalistic. And so I hereby submit the case for your review: the increase in numbers is exponential, and of the main point there can be no doubt – there was a significant, measurable move by Eigner, circa 1970 and after, towards the writing of poems of the most spare lines, sparer even than the very spare lines in the poems he wrote in the 1950s and 1960s.


In a moment or two here, I’m going to take a closer look at a few Eigner one-word-per-line poems. But before that, permit me to pause, to reflect on what I assume is a natural enough question: what caused the shift towards ever more spare poetry after around 1970?

An obvious answer is one I’ve already suggested: Eigner decided to continue along the path he’d long followed in poetry. Understatement. Sotto voce resulting in the suppression of words. Allowing in his poetry a freedom both to go along and (importantly here) end. To further foreground force and immediacy, not clarity. The many post-1970 poems of single-word lines, or extremely low word-per-line averages, are thus a refinement, a further pursuit, a heightened exploration, another facet, of the core principles that always animated Eigner’s work.

There’s also the possible influence of the at-the-time explorations of poetic minimalism by others. By all accounts Eigner was a voracious and vigorous reader, and surely the knew the work of, for example, Aram Saroyan, Clark Coolidge, and Robert Creeley, among others. Along the same lines, Eigner also had known for years the work of poet Cid Corman, who from the late 1950s forward wrote and published mostly very spare poems (and translated or adapted haiku from the Japanese).

Then there is Robert Grenier, whose Sentences, written in the early 1970s, have their fair share of poems made of but one or two word lines. Grenier and Eigner met January, 1971, and Grenier almost immediately became Eigner’s chief friend and only poetry organizer. After Eigner’s 1978 move to Berkeley, Grenier soon enough became a caretaker for Eigner, sharing a home with him for a decade. The influence, both ways, must have been immense.


All right, let’s get this party started. Yes, let’s look at a few poems that have but one word per line!

Among the key characteristics of Eigner’s work, identified long ago by his fellow poet-readers, are “stanzaic phrases,”and poems that “proceeded . . . line to line” with “each line a new mind” (quoting here Robert Duncan (1967), Barrett Watten (1985), and Clark Coolidge (1978), respectively). With these characteristics in mind, it’s fascinating to consider Eigner’s poems that only use single-word lines. How does the “stanzaic phrase,” or “each line [as] a new mind” work when Eigner exclusively uses the sparest line of them all – the single word?

Well, first of all, some of Eigner’s poems with single-word lines, as is true of some of his work, proceed under an entirely different model than suggested by Duncan, Watten, and Coolidge. These poems aren’t so much manifestations of Eigner’s mind in motion bit an opportunity for him to say something in an almost aphoristic way. Here’s # 1201(March 31, 1980):

This poem, I suggest, is Eigner commenting on what happens when he writes, describing the action of ideas (“nuggets”), either in the mind or on the page. The words, separated as they are into individual lines, do enact the concept presented, but the entire poem is easily read as a single phrase. In this regard, note the traditional (and highly unusual for Eigner) uniform left side margin. That suggests to me that the poem’s meant to be read as a straight-line statement. [The endnote for this poem states that Eigner’s typescript margin note states, “Cd be a review of Rbt Grenier’s Oakland (Tuumba Press, Berkeley, 1980).”]

Something closer to “stanzaic phrases” can be found in the single-word line poems which line-to-line peg the elements of a scene (or scenes) perceived by Eigner. In these poems, each word is a kind of snapshot, with the poem as an entirety being a kind of lexical slide-show, complete with black-out frames (silences) between each image. Take a look at # 1671 (November 7, 1989), a very short example:
Sometimes, these slide-shows project out even more, and thus move even closer to the “each line a new mind” model. Consider please # 1375 (March 14, 1983) -- and I apologize that the scan here is akimbo:

Here, the concrete gets mixed with a touch of the more abstract (“far”), with the final word/line also multivalent, in that it could refer to an interior (the “corners” of a room), an intersection on the street, or, for that matter, those places in the mind where ideas meet. Query too, given the date of the poem, where the “snowy” arises from – Eigner most likely was in Berkeley. I can’t find weather records on-line, but snow in Berkeley (a dusting on the hilltops to the east) does occasionally happen.

But it’s also possible that “snowy” happened only in the poem, a memory or imagined event from Eigner’s mind. Or it could be a metaphor for obscure and soft that contrasts with the sharper “corners” that follows, or which serves as something more immediately (even viscerally) present than the “far” which precedes it. In any event, there’s no question but that there’s some, even much, word/line-to-word/line energy here.

As you might expect, the longer the single word line poems extend, the more opportunities arise for movement, at least across the poem. Here’s # 1278 (August 5, 1981), a very special nine worder:
Obviously, the first five words/lines here can be taken as concise descriptors of things seen (or remembered), perhaps even in the exact sequence presented. Notice, though, that “shadows,” – and this is a characteristic Eigner move – can relate both to the three objects that come before it (“bicycle // fence // tree”), the object (“wires”) that comes after it, and to none of those things at all.

Similarly, the “go // everywhere” that follows the first five lines could act on the immediately preceding “wires” or the whole kaboodle of what’s been presented before. But also, “go // everywhere” is also what happens in the poet’s (the reader’s) mind, a description of how thoughts travel in the head. And all this too can be said about the concluding “fading // distance” as well.

Now let’s end the main part of this post with the b-i-g one, the longest by far of Eigner’s poems that use only single-word lines. Recognize, please, that almost three-quarters of Eigner’s single word/line poems (32 of 43) are quite short, with five words/lines or less. There are also two poems each with six, seven, eight, nine, and ten words, respectively. That’s another ten, leaving one last poem.

And oh my as indicated that last poem is a w-h-o-p-p-e-r. Here it is (# 742 : January 19, 1973) in the full glory of its eighteen – yes, that’s right, eighteen (!) – words/lines:
That, folks, is a masterwork. An Eigner-ian masterwork, a poem-masterwork of any kind. I could write an entire post on this one, concerning its multitude of single-word stanziac lines, and how each of those words, or at least almost all, comes at you as a “new mind.” But you do all that, if you want. I can’t right now. You see:








Larry Eigner
A Chronological List
-- A Total of Forty-Three (43) --

[many thanks to Andrew Rippeon, editor of P-QUEUE,
who after this post was first published
kindly wrote and pointed out
an additional nine Eigner poems for this list]

Number....Date..............Volume, Page...Words/Lines......first lines or title

# 571 (October 12, 1971) ... III, 1049 ...... 7/7 .......... “sun // star”

# 654 (March 23, 1972) ... III, 1086 ...... 6/6 .......... “shape // shadow” [spaced letters]

# 659 (March 30, 1972) .... III, 1090 ...... 3/3 ....... “single // notes”

# 716 (August 23, 1972) ... III,1120 ...... 9/9 .......... “Acupuncture // bull // cape . . .”

# 742 (January 19, 1973) ... III, 1136 ...... 18/18 .......... “Individualism // wilderness”

# 769 (March 30, 1973) ... III, 1145 ...... 4/4 .......... “i // mean // at // moments”

# 794 (July 23, 1973) ... III, 1162 ...... 8/8 .......... “takes // away // from”

# 798 (July 27, 1973) ... III, 1164 ...... 10/10 .......... “breaths // between”.

# 810 ’’’ (September 20, 1973) ... III, 1173 ...... 3/3 .......... “super // cool // haiku”

# 816' (October 21, 1973) .... III, 1178 ...... 3/3 ....... “close // far”

# 838''' (Feb 13-21, 1974) .... III, 1193 ...... 4/4 ........ “branches // flagpole”

# 843' (March 18, 1974) ..... III, 1197 ....... 4/4 ....... “Fiddle // inside”

# 873' (July 5-8, 1974) ....... III, 1214 ....... 4/4 ........ “outpouring // hot”

# 890 (October 5, 1974) ... III, 1223 ...... 4/4 .......... “siren // heat”

# 893 (October 30, 1974) ... III, 1225 ..... 4/4 ......... “far // clear”

# 904 (December 18, 1974)...III, 1233 ...... 6/6 .......... like Buson said [title]

# 923' (May 6, 1975) ... III, 1246 ...... 4/4 .......... “home // room”

# 938 (August 15, 1975) ... III, 1258 ...... 4/4 .......... “Heart // grain”

# 941 (August 26, 1975) ... III, 1260 ...... 4/4 .......... “shuttle // flight”

# 944 (September 16, 1975)...III, 1262......3/3..........“all // gone // better”

# 957 (December 4, 1975)...III, 1270......4/4.......... “music // various”

# 1059 (January 16, 1978)...III, 1331......3/3.......... “snow // blinding”

# 1067 (March 3, 1978) ... III, 1334 ...... 3/3 .......... “snow // scape”

# 1094 (August 8, 1978) ... IV, 1351 ...... 4/4 .......... dans la nuit [title]

# 1098 (September 24, 1978)...IV, 1352......5/5 .......... “hills // earth”

# 1105 (October 24, 1978) ... IV, 1355 ...... 5/5 .......... “silent // bits”

# 1118 (January 3, 1979) ... IV, 1359 .... 3/3 ...... “listen // singers”

# 1140 (May 13, 1979) ... IV, 1367 ...... 4/4 .......... “dreaming // ears”

# 1158 (June 28, 1979) ... IV, 1374 ...... 5/5 .......... “packaging / extreme”

# 1169 (August 30, 1979) ... IV, 1378......4/4 .......... b o r d e r s p a c i f i c s [title]

# 1201 (March 31, 1980)...IV, 1393......4/4..........“nuggets // enough”

# 1278 (August 5, 1981)...IV, 1435......9/9..........“bicycle // fence”

# 1305 (December17-19, 1981) ... IV, 1448 ...... 5/5 .......... “switch // wall”

# 1306 (January 1, 1982) ... IV, 1449 ...... 3/3 .......... “sun // shaft”

# 1366 (January 13, 1983) ... IV, 1476......8/8.......... partly in a house [title]

# 1375 (March 14, 1983) ... IV, 1480 ...... 5/5 .......... “sky // clouds”

# 1414 (October 5, 1983) ... IV, 1500 ...... 3/3 ......... “bathroom / basketball”

# 1579 (September 21, 1986) ... IV, 1577 ...... 10/10 .......... the woods [title]

# 1637.8(January 12, 1988) ... IV, 1603 ...... 3/3 .......... q u a r t e t [title]

# 1671 (November 7, 1989) ... IV, 1624 ...... 4/4 .......... “tree // phonepole”

# 1683 (April 27, 1990) ... IV, 1630 ...... 5/5 .......... “shadow // motion”

# 1697.zx (July 20, 1991) ... IV, 1641 ...... 2/2 .......... Indoor Outdoor Life [title]

# 1717 (December 12, 1992) ... IV, 1654 ...... 7/7 .......... “south // door . . .”



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Authority Arrogate

(five-four-five-eight eight-six-one-seven)

Roger received target 15. K. Stay firm. Roger. Oh yeah. Hotel Two-Six; Crazyhorse One-Eight. Fucking prick. Request permission to engage. Roger that. All right, we’ll be engaging. Roger, go ahead. Bushmaster element. God damn it. Just fuckin, once you get on them just open up. You’re clear. Let’s shoot. Light ‘em all up.
Keep shoot ‘n. Keep shoot ‘n. Keep shoot ‘n.
Keep shoot ‘n.
I got ’m. God damn it, Kyle. Ha ha ha, I hit ‘em. All right, I’m just trying to find targets again. Bushmaster Six, this is Bushmaster Two-Six. Gotta bunch of bodies layin’ there. Yeah, we got one guy crawling around down there. We’re shooting some more. You shoot, I’ll talk. Roger. Hotel Two-Six; Crazyhorse One-Eight. Six Beacon Gaia. Sargeant Twenty is the location. Hotel Two-Six; Crazyhorse One-Eight.
Oh yeah look at those dead bastards.


Two-Six; Crazy Horse One-Eight.


Good shoot ‘n.

Thank you.

Uh, location of bodies Mike Bravo five-four-five-eight eight-six-one-seven.

Five-four-five-eight eight-six-one-seven. Over.

This is Crazyhorse one-eight, that’s a good copy.