Saturday, June 27, 2009

best that any artist/poet learn and apprentice to a trade...learn a trade a useful trade! carpentry, plumbing, electrician, pottery, doctoring, ..

one builds a deck (to sit upon and read poetry) same way one builds a poem: one nail/one word at a time.

learn and practice the rules of your craft.... then break the rules.

Ed Baker

There is no excuse for literary criticism

Basil Bunting


Ed Baker said...

well, Basil Bunting and I
got tears in our eyes...

you don't need to nail your hand to the page to write the poem.

Cid lead me to Basil's work early on ...maybe late 60's.

it's corny, I know, but: who teaches/who students

we get to the Coeur (a pun intended) of:

from 1930 his FIRST BOOK OF ODES

15 opens w

substance utters or time
stills and restrains
joins design and

supple measure deftly
as though intricate polyphonic
score dovetails with the tread
sensuous things
keep in consciousness

Celebrate man's craft
and the word spoken in shapeless night, the
sharp tool paring away
waste and the forms
cut out of mystery!


now this collected Poems edition 2000

his preface to opens:

"A man who collects his poems screws together the boards of his coffin. Those outside will have all the fun, but he is entitled to his last confession. These poems were written here and there now and then over forty years and four continents. Heaped together they make a book."

John B-R said...

Bunting didn't really heed his own advice, tho, did he? How read lectures except as lit crit? How else read his poem on the Cantos?

I don't hold it against him, of course. No one need be consistent ...

As for Ed's "one builds a poem: one nail/one word at a time." Guess he hadn't thot of cutnpaste!

And as for his "learn and practice the rules of your craft....": what are the rules of poetry, anyway? I've been doing it or attempting to do it 40 years now and still haven't a clue ... only rule I know is Bob marley's who feels it knows it, and I don't have a clue how to break that rule ...

Ed Baker said...

On the Fly-Leaf of Pound's Cantos

There are the Alps. What is there to say about them?
They don't make sense. Fatal glaciers, crags cranks climb,
jumbled boulder and weed, pasture and boulder, scree,
et l'on entend, maybe, le refrain joyeux et leger.
Who knows what the ice will have scraped on the rock it is smoothing?

There they are, you will have to go a long way round

if you want to avoid them.
It takes some getting used to. There are the Alps,
fools! Sit down and wait for them to crumble!

Basil Bunting

the only way to read a poem
to read it!


each morning before I begin to write
rule #1 piss
rule #2 brew coffee
rule #3 take cap off of pen

rule #4 put paper into typewriter


as for "cutnpaste"

that's what was done in the olden days to get copy camera-ready for
the printer.... a graphics

number of rules there too a sharp exacto blade, clean hands, lots of light, don't spill coffee on the work...

as for "Rules of Poetry"

they got that in English 101A remedial writing!

and in art it s called "paint by the numbers"

I could never figure out those rules either... nor ever a need to in order to get a decent grade and pass on to the next level


I bogeyed once in Kingston at a dive with Ziggy he was wayyyyy over there
and I was wayyyy in the back

Comments about this poem (On the Fly-Leaf of Pou

Alan Baker said...

I'm never quite sure how tongue-in-cheek Bunting's pronouncements were. But they generally position poetry-making as a practical craft.

He did indeed lecture (tho perhaps out of financial necessity), but his statement on lit crit is at least a challenge: asking, isn't the poetry itself enough?

Aidan Semmens said...

Not sure I want my plumber or electrician to break the rules too much... or, maybe, my doctor...