015.1: Pat Nolan:: The Archeology of Me & The Red Wheelbarrow School of Poetry
10 May 2010
Pat Nolan asks what it is that we seek—the object or the metaphysical purpose we attach to and fetishize beyond the object? As the two poems below unfold, we watch Nolan seek out gods, objects on a desk, his self, and that ever-elusive "it." As objects are found, a fissure forms between what he wants to find and what he ends up finding. What he wants, we initially think, is meaning. What he finds, in the end, is either an object or the absence of an object. The second poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow School of Poetry", openly announces its Williams lineage as a poetics of the phenomenal, "No ideas but in things!" When Nolan approaches an idea, this 'meaning,' he ends up holding nothing, "the possession of meaning / slips through my fingers", with only the physical object, the soft leather gloves remaining tangible in his hand. There is no meaning or truth beyond the object, just the object. The phenomenal object is the constant in the "state of constant / negotiations" that we find filling up our world.
015.2: Norman Finkelstein:: Burt Kimmelman’s Syllables
12 May 2010
"Poets cannot really 'leave things unspoken,' but they can learn what will suffice. Like Morandi, Kimmelman lays out the terms of his work with a deliberate bareness, trusting to a power of suggestion (not produced by symbolism, but more simply, by syntax measured against syllable count) that will sustain and complete the poem. The phrase 'a made world' takes us back to William Bronk, perhaps the greatest of Kimmelman’s immediate precursors. For Bronk, as for Morandi, and as for Kimmelman, the work of art is always 'a made world,' a binding of desire and a stubborn, necessary turning of the artist’s materials back upon themselves to achieve an otherwise impossible sufficiency. It is the artist’s way of testing reality, of seeing what is and what is to come."