Monday, October 12, 2009

12. "myself!/ through the whole long universe"

It was a little great to get a surprise photocopy of Alice Notley's 1973 chapbook Phoebe Light in the mail only a few days after I had listened to her read some poems from it on Penn Sound.  1973 was the year I was born, and I remember nothing of it but family pictures,

but there is an Alex Katz cover, peeking out of an envelope, its hand-written title as charmingly faux-naif as the poems inside. A friend said, "Do you think that is Alex Katz's handwriting? " and yes I think so, it is thin like his paintings and the letters sit at angles similar to his lines. At least I want to think so, holding in my imagination, as I do, that encouraging myth that is the 70s,  poets un-institutional and intermixed with artists, all those brave broke bohemians "with their guts and balls." You see I was only an infant and therefore authentically a naif that year, as I guess I remain,

but there is Alice Notley in 1973 the grown woman, unafraid, as she would remain, of sentiment or experiment: "antediluvian bang in arched fur willful & exploded pussy" and (in its entirety)


I needed a long bus ride up-
town like a new hole oh well
my only comfort the possibility
you're unhappy, insane, etc.

This is early work but nonetheless the work is defiant: "My second year I read THE CANTOS (1-95) of Ezra Pound.  They were just like everything else."

Like an oracle, always, is APRIL: "broke the bed fucking."  And in its entirety:


The great cosmetic
Strangeness of a normal deep person. 

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