Orphic Ontologies II The essence of human power: access to the cosmos from the heavens down to earth & into the Cro-Magnon underworld Charles Olson on Wallace Stevens. to Creeley, May 5, 1952: “For the lie in Stevens, however much the pleasure in the play of words, is his language, that, it is without rhythm because it is without passion which is person (not personae, that further divide … Read more Two Texts by Clayton Eshleman: (2) Orphic Ontologies II
ORPHEUS IN LASCAUX The Lascaux Pit’s visionary scene is much more formidable & larger than I had anticipated before climbing down a narrow 16 foot ladder to it in May 1997. Around 6 and a half feet in length the scene possesses its wall space with black, aggressive, calligraphic strokes. In reproductions it often appears cramped,with a bird-headed man, a wounded bison, & a rhinoceros done in a puerile,primitive” fashion. As I … Read more Two Texts by Clayton Eshleman: (1) Orpheus in Lascaux
Clayton Eshleman started his first magazine, Caterpillar, in New York City in the fall of 1967 — the very same moment I moved from Europe to the US. It wasn’t until some time in late 1968 that the magazine was brought to my attention, either by Robert Kelly, with whom I was working on Paul Celan translations at Bard College, or by Thomas Meyer, a student like me at … Read more A Sulfur Anthology: Clayton Eshleman, ed.
This superb volume from Black Widow Press landed on my desk a few days ago & I have only been able to dip into it from time to time between writing deadlines & preparations for moving (to Boise, ID for the spring semester). I recommend it wholeheartedly as what may be the definitive collection of Eshleman’s poetic oeuvre. Very useful — for both the new reader and the one who … Read more Clayton Eshleman: The Essential Poetry (1960-2015)
Clayton Eshleman has been one of this country’s most serious, engaged & productive poets, translators & thinkers on the matter of poetry for more than half a century now. As Adrienne Rich wrote about the volume Companion Spider: “As a poet and translator, Clayton Eshleman has gone more deeply into his art, its processes and demands, than any modern American poet since Robert Duncan or Muriel Rukeyser… Eshleman has … Read more Clayton Eshleman’s Experience
Sometime last week I forwarded a review of a current British Museum exhibition on prehistoric art to Clayton Eshleman. He responded two days ago, saying: “I remembered my little moleskin notebook I had with me in London 2007 when at that Museum. I decided to copy out my notes on the ancient pieces I scribbed standing before their windows one morning…” And with his permission, here they are, for me clearly more than fragmentary notes, poems … Read more Clayton Eshleman’s British Museum Notebook
I have been reading — & rereading — Clayton Eshleman’s An Anatomy of Night (published — details here — by Blaze Vox [Books] in 2011) with great, & indeed, increasing pleasure over some weeks now. It is vintage Eshleman, that is, the strength & power of image-making, always his forte, & the muscular & nervous dynamic that organizes & drives these knotted metaphorics forward, have in no way diminished with time … Read more Clayton Eshleman’s Anatomy of the Night
With the summer all but gone, the Maghrebi anthology all but done, the first week of teaching behind me, & a long weekend ahead, there may even be time to get some leisurely reading done. Returning to Brooklyn after 3 months on the road, I found a trove of books that had arrived or that I hadn’t gotten to in the spring. Below, a few of these (more over … Read more Weekend Reading: Rexroth, Césaire & Collage
José Antonio Mazzotti from: Sakra Boccata Translation by Clayton Eshleman 5 Because blessed You are among all women And blessed this fleshy bulk like a dog rose It saves my soul with the Transubstantiation of the Flesh In Wine and Bread of the Glory on this altar I sacrifice myself I feed my goddess as if she were a sea monster I kiss the two cheeks of her Face … Read more SAKRA BOCCATA(2)
Today’s Huffington Post publishes an interview with Clayton Eshleman in the context of Anis Shivani‘s series on the state of US poetry now. Check it our here. Further down the page you can read similar interviews with Annie Finch and Ron Silliman (all too short, all of them, to get a real in depth sense of things, unhappily — but I guess that’s the format of journalism).