Friday, November 30, 2007

When All Is Become Billboards

I’ve joked that my next project might be Olson’s Maximus Poems, if only because I would be able to summer in Cape Ann rather than northern Jersey. It is interesting that in today’s Gloucester—locus of Olson’s Maximus—most of the street signs are half-hand painted. Could it be that this folksy interpretation of common signage is a response to Olson’s :
But that which matters, that which insists, that which will last,
that! o my people, where shall you find it, how, where, where shall you listen
when all is become billboards, when, all, even silence, is spray-gunned?

when even our bird, my roofs,
cannot be heard

when even you, when sound itself is neoned in?
I picked up Maximus a couple weeks ago, and reread his piece on projective verse, since I’ve taken on a grad student who is working with both Williams and Olson. This student also has an uncannily similar Paterson blog, in which he and a collaborator have used the book as an occasion for new poems and songs. (note: I am not the professor on campus who “is constantly apologizing for Williams's inability to keep out of other women's beds” but I’d be interested to know who is; sounds like a stock character, though) More from them, soon. Nevertheless, Olson’s stuff is among the many poems and secondary materials I have been trundling through this fall, but have not had the opportunity to synthesize yet for the blog. For example, I reread Eliot’s The Wasteland because Cooper had a copy of the same edition I had in college, and the wee periwinkle paperback made me nostalgic, so I read it, and enjoyed it . . . which may complicate my previous positions, but nevertheless . . .

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home