Posts Tagged ‘ Eshleman ’

Poems and Poetics: Clayton Eshleman: For the Night Poem 8 Aug 2010

Source: Poems and Poetics: Clayton Eshleman: For the Night Poem 8 Aug 2010


Two Texts by Clayton Eshleman: (2) Orphic Ontologies II – Nomadics

Orphic Ontologies II

The essence of human power:
access to the cosmos from the heavens down to
earth & into the Cro-Magnon underworld

Charles Olson on Wallace Stevens. to Creeley, May 5, 1952: “For the lie in Stevens, however much
the pleasure in the play of words, is his language, that, it is without rhythm because it is without passion
which is person (not personae, that further divide against mass).”

To Creeley, May 6, 1952: “We both had a sudden excitement, just now talking, when it turns out (it was
that fucking Stevens who had provoked it by some line about poetry to undo dirt) O that dirty Crispin of
his—dirtier than Prufrock): those who keep themselves away from life (again protecting a—the
—pudenda) that Con said
I don’t feel any dirt
And Christ I loved her, for, there ain’t none, and those who have it, who have this thing of original sin hung around their cocks like a  dead albatross, are of another tribe, a tribe of sin not at all of the  tribe of men
And it struck us both just then what what makes communication with you so open is, that you have none of this shit in you: you are free of that.”

In the beginning was drawing, line on stone or bone,
consciousness united with its own perceptions: womb of the creative!
A totally metaphoric world, no difference between subject & object.
Dream holes: anywhere but nowhere in particular.

James Hillman: “The most distressing images in dreams and fantasies, those we shy from for their disgusting distortion and perversion, are precisely the ones that break the allegorical frame of what we think we know about this person or that, this trait of ourselves or that. The ‘worst’ images are thus the best, for these are the ones that restore a figure to its pristine power as a numinous person at work in the soul.”

Think of this page as a phare on night’s alabaster dives & cornucopian emptiness, cross-wired to the
ochre of farraginous dreams.

One’s place is an expanding lesion in ancestral fog. Ultimately I am, sitting here, a ghost figure crouched
before a cave wall 20,000 years ago.

Pregnant abyss of the enigma of male birthing. Non-existent gestation—egg fertile only with the maggot
of self.

Is our war on animals a planetary cannibalization brought about by self eating self to reach non-
existence in a masque put on by hydrogen mountains & sulfur assassins?

The salmagundi of “now” & “forever” is the crucible that contains the frailty of eternity.

James Hillman: “Images are the compelling source of morality and religion as well as the
conscientiousness of art.”  Show this to Gary Snyder [See the Winter 1996 Paris Review Snyder Interview].

The writhing of precision as it meets time.

Perception is the handmaiden of imagination.

Cornucopia of the sunshine forest with its anteater molecules,
a Reich bion lurking in each word
whose apogee is cratered with emptied hives.

Sun as a circumference concentrate.

It is not enough to represent, to re-
present, the present as leftovers.
Warmed up past is forever at our heels.

The analphabetic, orthochromatic, anti-nature of the mind when freed of cauliflower containment.

Alive to the dead end in every observational move.

At the corner of Bukowski & Ashbery a groin helmeted with bridal choirs.

Fingering the pluck of plumeless existence ripe with skinned heads.

A Mayan anaconda coils below Arcadia’s latent still.

A stratigraphic sequence reveals its ember-work, its furnace forum always underway. It rests in a floral
nest, a leaden, still hissing egg.

James Hillman: “We have to tie terrorism to its roots in our religious consciousness. A terrorist
is the product of our education that says that fantasy is not real, that says aesthetics is just for artists, that says
soul is only for priests, imagination is trivial or dangerous and for crazies, and that reality, what we must
adapt to, is the external world and that world is dead. A terrorist is a result of this whole long process of
wiping out the psyche.”

Charred girders call out to us. Screeens of a stirring.
Parasites in sponge-like textures. Afterlife of the gone.

Yet Poussin’s satyr-scape is no more.
The anointing of the dead Adonis. No more.
Pan’s shadow as leafy quilts. Psychic clouds boiling westward. No more.
Blind Orion searching for the risen sun. No more.

Source: Two Texts by Clayton Eshleman: (2) Orphic Ontologies II – Nomadics

Donna Fleischer / rhythm


entering the elemental realm with sculptor andy goldsworthy — a film about his earth works. i feel words for the first time. for something pre-verbal, semiotic ­­—sadly, living in the man-made world is making me sick. how to live less in it?


the sculptor says, in rivers and tides that the tides teach one about time. he breathes in the natural world. doesn’t use the word real. doesn’t need to.


i imagine a tigris and euphrates moon. shifting silt. menses. our deeper history, before hierarchy; remember gaston bachelard’s poetics of space — that the seashell is also nature anticipating the human ear; knowing of postmodern shaman timothy treadwell’s love for the brown bear, thanks to werner herzog.


the way to feeling. the shape of it. how it takes time. takes us to cavedepth being. ponder clayton eshleman’s juniper fuse to write


art enlivens. if you let it into your life,
as marauder. to be at one with the mystery,
an unlonely presence in absence, of what is
loved, what lost. the paleolithic
imagination reaching for the human it will
become, for its own shadow, through art,
its will, its desire for survival.


pure love
Ofili’s elephant dung
with Madonna


*Artist Chris Ofili, lived and worked with elephants in Thailand where he grew to know and love them. I  feel that he integrated their dung into his paintings in much the same way iconographers embellished objects of devotion with gold leaf.

Donna Fleischer

Clayton Eshleman and Robert Kelly / The Poetry Project

Anis Shivani writes of his ongoing discussion of the state of American poetry, on the Huffington Post with leading American poets. Clayton Esleman had this to say: “Elder poets such as Gary Snyder, Adrienne Rich, Jerome Rothenberg, Robert Kelly and the late Gustaf Sobin, for example, have, over the past two decades, in their own fashion, developed and extended the work of Pound, Williams, Stein, Rukeyser, and Olson. The elder poets I mention above have continued to affirm poetry as a form in which the realities of the spirit can be tested by critical intelligence, a form in which the blackness in the heart of man can be confronted and articulated.

The hundreds of undergraduate and graduate university degree programs offering majors in writing poetry and fiction worry me. This system is producing thousands of talented but unoriginal writers, many of whom would not be writing at all if it were not for jobs. Once upon a time, there was a “left bank” and a “right bank” in our poetry: the innovative vs. the traditional. Today the writing scene resembles a blizzard on an archipelago of sites. Not only has the laudable democratization of poetry been compromised by being brick-layered into the academy but with few exceptions there is a lack of strong “signature” and a tacit affirmation of the bourgeois status quo, the politics of no politics.

There are a number of poets who are a wonderful exception to the situation I briefly just described. Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Ron Padgett, Anne Waldman, Nathaniel Mackey, Michael Palmer, John Olson, Andrew Joron, Will Alexander, Christine Hume, Kevin Davies, Lara Glenum, Linh Dinh, and Kristin Prevallet, to name only a few, are all publishing poetry that bears the stamp of originality as well as the influence of earlier major figures.

Leave this country and see how other people live. Translate, for the assimilate space opened up through the translation of complex texts carries a greater learning potential than reading poetry written in one’s native language. Read books that no one else is reading so that you can bring into poetry information that has remained outside of poetry.

Keep a reading notebook and start writing reviews of the books that you adore or detest, stating clearly why. Take on poetry that is beyond you. Serious poetry commentary is a kind of endangered “species.” The major critics of the past several decades have all been non-poet advancers of conventional verse.

Clayton Eshleman and Robert Kelly « The Poetry Project.