Thursday, June 26, 2008

letter to lorca

from after lorca:

Dear Lorca,

I would like to make poems out of real objects. The lemon to be a lemon that the reader could cut or squeeze or taste--a real lemon like a newspaper in a collage is a real newspaper. I would like the moon in my poems to be a real moon, one which could be suddenly covered with a cloud that has nothing to do with the poem--a moon utterly independent of images. The imagination pictures the real. I would like to point to the real, disclose it, to make a poem that has no sound in it but the pointing of a finger.


Things do not connect; they correspond. That is what makes it possible for a poet to translate real objects, to bring them across language as easily as he can bring them across time. That tree you saw in Spain is a tree I could never have seen in California, that lemon has a different smell and a different taste, BUT the answer is this--every place and every time has a real object to correspond with your real object--that lemon may become this lemon, or it may even become this piece of seaweed, or this particular color of gray in this ocean. One does not need to imagine that lemon; one needs to discover it.

I love Spicer's letters to Lorca--the simultaneous care and wrecklessness with which he writes.

I've never written about writing too much. At least not in this way. I always think about what to say if asked what my poems (or anyone's) are, or try to be, or are there to accomplish. Those are abstract questions, and maybe they're not important anyway, but I've always felt anxious about explanations. Maybe I just don't piece things together this way. Most of the time I vacillate between feeling wholly inarticulate and justifiably observant, and somehow I always get stuck trying to explain something when I haven't fully processed it yet. But then again, maybe I just never really finish processing anything.