Sunday, September 10, 2006

Michael Palmer, from Company of Moths

Michael Palmer


What of the wolfhound at full stride?
What of the woman in technical dress
and the amber eye that serves as feral guide

and witness
to the snowy hive?
What of the singer robed in red

and frozen at mid-song
and the stone, its brokenness,
or the voice off-scene that says,

Note the dragonfly by its iris
but ask no questions of flight,
no questions of iridescence?

All of this
and the faint promise of a sleeve,
the shuttle’s course, the weave.

What of these?
What of the century, did you see it pass?
What of the wolfhound at your back?


And here's a short bit from The Washington Post:

Avant-Garde Poet Wins $100,000 Prize

The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 6, 2006; 12:06 PM

NEW YORK -- Avant-garde poet Michael Palmer has won the Wallace Stevens Award, a $100,000 prize given annually for "outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry."
"Michael Palmer is the foremost experimental poet of his generation and perhaps of the last several generations," according to a statement issued earlier this week by the Academy of American Poets, which gives the prize.

"A gorgeous writer who has taken cues from Wallace Stevens, the Black Mountain poets, John Ashbery, contemporary French poets, the poetics of Octavio Paz and from language poetries. He is one of the most original craftsmen at work in English at the present time."

Palmer, 63, is the author of Company of Moths, Codes Appearing and numerous other collections.

Previous winners of the Stevens award, which was founded in 1994, include John Ashbery, Adrienne Rich and W.S. Merwin.


Quibble. "Avant-garde Poet Michael Palmer." It's like needles in my eyes when I come across how reduced the reductions can get . . . We can't just say "Michael Palmer," can we? We can't just say "Poet Michael Palmer." No, we have to find a further box. Oh where would we be without the specific boxes for the specific persons? And make those persons fit! Even if it means we have to chop off little pieces from them to get them in there.

But what does "Avant-garde" even refer to anymore? I thought we were over that one. It seems to me, these days, to be code for "don't bother, you won't like it." Or somesuch.

On the other hand, it is good to see a real article in a real newspaper mentioning something about a poet. Of course, it's only because of the money. But money is a kind of poetry, as Wallace Stevens, namechecked here in the article, once wrote.


At 9/12/2006 9:56 AM, Blogger Penultimatina said...

I'm not fond of the avant garde tag either, but at least they mentioned the Black Mountain poets and Paz...not the most typical fare.

At 9/12/2006 2:12 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Agreed. Now if they would actually print some of the poems . . .

At 9/13/2006 12:12 PM, Blogger Penultimatina said...

Good point!

That's what we need right now.


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