Friday, September 08, 2006

Michael Palmer / Wallace Stevens Award

Matthew Thorburn has informed me that Michael Palmer has just been announced as the winner of the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.

The New York Times writes:

"The accolade recognizes outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry. Mr. Palmer, an experimental poet who was born in New York in 1943 and has lived in San Francisco for more than 30 years, will read from his works at the academy's award ceremony on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Lang Auditorium at the New School, 55 West 13th Street, in Greenwich Village. The event is free and open to the public."

It's appropriate, I think, that Palmer win an award named for Wallace Stevens, as I feel Palmer's poetry is close in spirit to an aspect of Stevens, the lyrical mind thinking . . . the elusive lyrical argument.

Here’s a poem from Palmer’s most recent book The Company of Moths:

The Thought

We breathe in, we do not think
of it. We walk and we speak

beneath the blue-flowering trees
and do not think. We breathe.

We cross the stone bridge
above a fisherman in a skiff.

We pass the blind man, the legless man
and the woman who sings of a coming storm.

We sit by the river in the rising wind,
we raise the crazed cup to our lips

and do not think,
here where the light does not differ from dark,

here where pages tumble to the floor,
here in the lake of ink,

the stain of ink where we fashion a calendar from a wall.
Invisible lake, unreachable shore.

Exhale and do not think.
Close their eyes a final time close our eyes.


At 9/11/2006 10:20 AM, Blogger louise said...

This is quite beautiful. I remember you mentioning how much you liked him. for some reason I've always had it in my head that he wouldn't be my cup of tea, but I really love this. Thank you.


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