Thursday, March 31, 2005

by Robert Creeley



J.M. Spalding: Very often a poem is dead as it is being written, or, simply put, despite substance, the poem just isn't good. Every poet has a different theory as to why that is. What is your theory?

Robert Creeley: Williams puts it best in Paterson: "Because it's there to be written...." If one only wrote "good" poems, what a dreary world it would be. "Writing writing" is the point. It's a process, like they say, not a production line. I love the story of Neal Cassidy writing on the bus with Ken Kesey, simply tossing the pages out the window as he finished each one. "I wonder if it was any good," I can hear someone saying. Did you ever go swimming without a place you were necessarily swimming to—the dock, say, or the lighthouse, the moored boat, the drowning woman? Did you always swim well, enter the water cleanly, proceed with efficient strokes and a steady flutter kick? I wonder if this "good" poem business is finally some echo of trying to get mother to pay attention.

J.M. Spalding: If you were stuck on a remote desert island and could only have three books (excluding anthologies) and three music records, what would they be?

Robert Creeley: I think I'd play it like Robinson Crusoe, from the beginning. I can't make choices of such kind.

-------------------

Goodbye

Now I recognize
it was always me
like a camera
set to expose

itself to a picture
or a pipe
through which the water
might run

or a chicken
dead for dinner
or a plan
inside the head

of a dead man.
Nothing so wrong
when one considered
how it all began.

It was Zukofsky's
"Born very young into a world
already very old..."
The century was well along

when I came in
and now that it's ending,
I realize it won't
be long.

But couldn't it all have been
a little nicer,
as my mother'd say. Did it
have to kill everything in sight,

did right always have to be so wrong?
I know this body is impatient.
I know I constitute only a meager voice and mind.
Yet I loved, I love.

I want no sentimentality.
I want no more than home.

4 Comments:

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Jim Higdon said...

dude,

whats the date of that creeley poem?! it's awesome!

-jim

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger stark pimp said...

"Goodbye" first appeared in The Exquisite Corpse (1996)

Online Source: http://www.princeton.edu/~euphorb/Issues/Spring96/works/GOODBYE.html

 
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