WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JACK SPICER
I decided to accept the invitation to write this introduction for Mr. Marika-Rich after much thought and debate. I was flattered that someone would write a piece, which in my estimation attempts a response to some of my poetry, but much of what you are about to read is offensive in my eyes.
I am not going to say that Mr. Marika-Rich failed to understand my ideas, but he maybe has failed to enact them to their full extent. What I mean to say is that these writings often focus on my own process, an odd subject choice for a poet forty years after I have left to say the least. Not only that, but the writings that don’t focus on my work and how they were created refer instead to the problems of words.
Now, I am well aware of what has been called the “Language Movement” and I can see some of the formal delights that come out of such poetry, but you must work with the words and sculpt them. Diminish them but do not obliterate them with random letters spilled onto a page of nonsense. To be fair, this collection does not go into some of the overly formal, structural nonsense, which I have seen in the past. Mr. Marika-Rich has taken it on himself to work within the parameters I, myself, worked in before my demise.
This young writer has restricted himself in this piece, through his reproduction of my style, and while I myself do not believe that one should have to enact formal rules in order to keep oneself out of their poetry, I do understand that for some it can be a necessary exercise. In the case of this particular collection, the formal decisions made by Mr. Marika-Rich are his way of keeping himself out of the poetry and thus containing the writings within my own methods, or so the theory goes.
I am not going to say that the following works are truly successful reproductions of my own work, but I will say that if the reader is able to put the formal exercise of the pieces aside they will be able to experience an interesting collection, even if it does seem unfinished to me.
Outside San Francisco, May 2009
BALLAD OF THE TWILIGHT
A Translation for Erik Marika-Rich
The abstraction of wind on a peaceful tadpole.
Confused stones smooth the grey-green.
He sees the flowery beast
And the vicious beauty of its presence.
If the word could be lost and leave thought
Without the abstraction of confused letters on grey-green stones.
Beauty could make the stones peaceful despite the vicious wind.
Lost feet shuffle beneath the twilight from which the stones are formed.
But the tadpole is blind to his beauty.
A head full of stones traps the flowery twilight
And the beast becomes an abstraction lost in the grey-green.
He smoothes the stones with shuffling feet
But the beast is lost for the vicious tadpole
In the confused twilight of the grey-green wind