Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bin Ramke - tendril

I’ve been following Bin Ramke’s work closely for nearly 15 years, so I was excited to hear he had a new book coming out this fall. I finally have a copy (and I bought one for a friend as well), and I’m not disappointed. I never have been disappointed by his poetry, his close investigations of language and experience, keeps him as close to the text as he is to the life. It’s a wonderful combination, where, “About is all they walk / in silence.” Isn’t that just a glorious line? Not to mention how jealous I am that Ashbery has a nice note on the back . . .

Here’s the opening poem of tendril, his eighth collection.

Bin Ramke
An Esthetic (Ars Poetica)

A window, this window onto my courtyard
where snow flies upward windblown; none
should assume beyond his own isolation;

a lake is green, a local sky blues into gray,
any horizon darkens blue and green shades
into a wish, a wash of winter . . . it is snowing

which is a way out of his own silence; he feels
the abrasion of too many words flakes escaping
every mouth a whir a weather. “Beautiful”

someone said: aye, but buy, eat. Beauty
is as beauty used. Does its duty. Did. Used to:
be a duty. If into anagrams you add a letter,

a dull entry into the eager ledger, “beautiful”
becomes a form full of future, or could if
you would have it. Is a claim to future, a wistful list:

the history of future is a version, aversion is a kind
of aesthetic. As if. The beautiful is a form of that.
A clean room, a table, a window beyond, and beyond

that, green of trees and a lawn through the window
into the room the green of the room the air
the weather of the room of the lawn no the weather

underneath the snow the green of a past still
cool and quiet; a wall well woven into the mown
landscape is art, a wall made to be seen not used

scraped by air, wind snaking among long trees
loyal ally, long allée. Every sound its own silence
like light a shadow, Echo and Narcissus

home in their reflections still the lake
and the snow a wall of stone a long valley
visible from this window, the threatening

chlorophyll considerable against retina. Retained.
No one talks, no one about. About is all they walk
in silence. If he needs to think he needs to think of

as in, “to think of the granular feel of light
falling into gardens this morning, this a light
insidious morning”; it may not be needed, nor desired,

this light this morning. “A world” the boy said
to himself—a kind of thinking, to say, as in, he said
to himself, “the world is bigger than I thought,”

when the boy wandered into the garden among granular
bodies of light such a morning, this morning, that last morning
of his past, who was soon to learn a little future.


At 9/06/2009 8:30 AM, Blogger slowmotion said...

!! :-)

At 9/06/2009 8:49 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

And now, his new and selected is just out . . .

At 7/25/2010 2:33 PM, Blogger Carol said...

I'm reading Theory of Mind, which is my first encounter with Bin Ramke. His poems are blowing me away!

At 7/25/2010 5:37 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


Yes! Yes! Yes!


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