Sunday, June 10, 2007


Now this is a spiritually meaty conversation -- this interview of Peter Ganick by Sheila Murphy. I'm so glad this was done as, while I'd encountered Peter over the years (he published some of my poems in his now-defunct but I always thought fabulously idealistic venture of a literary journal, poethia), I don't know much about Peter. There's much meat in the conversation, like this excerpt which, as Peter discusses his methodology, is one of the finest articulations of architecture and song in poetry that I've seen:
i must confess the process is not analyzed much by me while writing. sort of start, maintain, continue, then, peter-out. it's rather an organic process. even though i might use abstract terms in writing, the course of the poem is like the life of a creature. the poem starts: there's a springtime/honeymoon time where i imagine the energy of the poem to be light and airy. whether or not this is true i don’t know, i observe it as such from my own view. whether or not, it makes for a poem-interpretation with which i can live.

from there is a developing complication. the text's springtime is over, though traces remain. negative concepts enter and though they are received by the poet, with the same engagement as the spring terms, the energy becomes gradually more clouded.

there is a book i wrote which is an example of this, TWO TEXTS. the first text, about 2/3rds of the book is called, 'apparitional corsairs'; the second, 'with-ness'. 'apparitional corsairs' was started to be a text that would be very long. in this text, the energy be-came more and more dark, even troubled. to pull a sufficient ending from it, i had to start another text with a regular lineation, in one form a sestina. after that, i changed the margins and the font size and let the poem run-on, so there is little evidence of the sestina-beginning. that text, 'withness' maintains a spiritual sense; this, because there is a sufficient period of difficulty overcome, overcome by 'going through it' to support the spiritual part.

in this work i am using the model of the symphony in the late romantic period european classical music. an energetic part, the 1st movement; a deep, engaging part, the 2nd movement; the third movement, a scherzo leading with life to the last part, the tour de force. [this is the model of beethoven's 9th symphony. each musical work of that period was somewhat different, though the 9th's model was primary.]

Not only is the above illuminating as regards the energy of a poem as it unfolds, but as a deeply-thought consideration of extended texts, it reveals why Peter (along with Jukka-Pekka Kervinen) would have conceived of Blue Lion Books which specializes in texts that are "250pp or more" as such scale facilitates developing "an idea in total. a long book for a complete idea, that's the point. and an experimental, or previously-unseen idea, even an innovation, is preferred. so far we've kept to this pretty well."

Of course, this makes me ever more grateful that Blue Lion Books published one of my books, SILENCES: The Autobiography of Loss. Blessings.