Friday, April 16, 2004

    Bill Allegrezza, in a post to his p-ramblings last month, quoted Italo Cavino's suggestion that each writer has a writer to whom he or she always returns & wondered whether this statement was true for most writers. I thought about it in relation to myself as I read it - & the fact that I had to think about it is probably the answer in itself.
    But I was thinking about poetry; & though I find that there are individual poems that I constantly return to – Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poem starting with "Constantly risking absurdity and death" from "A Coney Island of the Mind" & Kenneth Rexroth's "The Advantages of Learning" are two immediate examples – I couldn't think of an individual poet at the time.
    There are, however, a number of prose writers to whom I return again & again for succour &/or inspiration &/or explanation & who I would be hard pressed to separate into ranks of favouritism. They are mainly speculative writers – Delany, Ballard, Eco & Borges – plus Richard Brautigan who brought joy to my soul from the very first reading in the early sixties of one of his pieces from "Trout Fishing in America". The first four have created landscapes & environments which I instinctively recognise & feel at home in. With Brautigan I am at home. & then there's Genêt…..
    But back to poetry. & poets. Thinking about the books on my shelves & how often I take them down, I realise there are three poets to whom I regularly return. There's Denise Levertov who was one of my early influences; William Carlos Williams who wasn’t so much an influence as an inspiration (& whose "Be patient that I address you in a poem. There is no other fit medium" is my screensaver); but it is Gary Snyder to whose poetry – rather than his individual poems – I keep going back most often.

         A Mind Poet
         Stays in the house.
         The house is empty
         And it has no walls.
         The poem
         Is seen from all sides,
         At once.

    Going beyond the world of words, does it have to be a writer to whom one returns? Possibly the reason I had such difficulty answering Bill's question initially is because the creative streams I keep returning to are the paintings of Magritte & Bosch, the compositions of Bach &, above & beyond all others, the music of Miles Davis which I have revisited so much it is permanently engraved upon my soul.

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