Page 11 - June 2021 Litterateur
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                                                        OCTOGENARIAN ANTICS

                    My  depression  vanished.  The  poem  suddenly  came  alive.  Its  seemingly

                    obvious  discovery  that  literature  was  made  out  of  letters  was
                    extraordinarily  liberating,  and  its  concluding  lines,  only  half-understood

                    when I wrote them, “the page is not the / natural dividing point,” thrust me

                    into an entirely new direction. A sequence of such poems followed. I called

                    it  “Letters”  and  dedicated  it  to  “the  sixth  Marx  brother:  Typo.”  (Olson’s
                    praise  of  the  typewriter  in  his  famous  essay,  “Projective  Verse,”  was

                    undoubtedly in the back of my mind.) I realize now (2021) what probably

                    happened on that day. My verse had finally achieved a strangeness which

                    it had lacked and which, as it turned out, I had passionately desired.

                    June 17, 1985

                    Appearance with Iván Argüelles at Larry Blake's Rathskeller in Berkeley. My

                    first real poetry reading--paired with Adelle, of course. I was astonished to
                    discover  that  people  reacted  to  my  poetry;  amazed  that  they  wished  to

                    know  me  because  of  it.  Someone,  envious,  said  to  me,  "You've  read  the

                    Classics, haven't you. I haven't." Someone else was amazed by my poem,

                    based on an ancient Irish story, "Sweeney Adrift." She said, over and over
                    again, "What a poem, what a poem!" Summoning up my years of obscurity,

                    the poem began,

                    welcome to the house of failure

                    see these are the structural bases of the house its beams and arteries
                    its artificial light its hands its vast appendices

                    who is

                    not here?
                    the range of things

                    delights us welcome welcome

                    see there is the door it opens for us


                   Litterateur                                                                                                11

                           REDEFINING WORLD
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