Note: About 4 months ago, poet and commentator Charles Orloski and I posted some of our e-mail exchanges in an article we called Poets Talk.
At that time, we had been exchanging e-mails for a little more than a year, and had expanded our initial musings about the state-of-the Arts in America to include social, political, economic, philosophical, and religious and moral questions, too; in other words--the whole cultural shebang!
"A word spoken in due season, how good is it!" the Book of Proverbs tells us, and since we had some good reports on our first endeavor" we have decided to endeavor once again.
Soren Kierkegaard thought that the poet's mouth was shaped in such a way that when he or she opened it to speak, a sad but beautiful sound came forth. I have long thought that poets talk to themselves so that others want to overhear them. Orloski puts it plainly:
"Good thinkers require & deserve good questioners. It's important for me when you question my points, and vice-versa. When readers encounter challenges in that which they read, authored by artists who are observably challenging one another, there emerges a 3rd person, and THOUGHT expands. That is good, and I do not believe Poets Talk goal is to tell anyone HOW to think. It HELPS perhaps in our country's most severe deficiency -- the education process."
And here we begin. "
GC: Chuck, you recently posted a poem at CounterPunch, commemorating the 1-year anniversary of the passing of poet Leonard Cirino. Soon after he died, I know that CounterPunch's Poets' Basement devoted a few pages of tributes to Leonard--from you and others--as well as reprising some of Leonard's poems. Now, before we get into any back-and-forth about our corrupt political scene, let's talk a little about the Arts (in my mind politics and the Arts are inextricable--all part of our Kulturkampf--, but what I want to know is, Why Leonard? What turns you on about his work?
CO: I will tell you something which some may find an exaggeration, but I experienced an epiphany almost every time I read a Leonard Cirino poem. Yes -- its a church word, but I do mean epiphany!
GC: Well, that's fine. And, I'm glad for you. But, for people who are not familiar with LC's work--well, they need to know more than that. Can you be a little more specific, play literary critic, perhaps?
CO: Naming 1 or 2 of my
favorite Cirino poems is like naming 1 or 2 of my favorite Beatle songs.
It's difficult, but come tomorrow, I will.
Also, tomorrow, I will photocopy & scan my choice(s), and email them
to you. And indicate WHY they are favored.
In general, I have not lost sight of Poets Talk goal. It's very worthy to try and have a goal-focused conversation that others presumably WANT and never get from oft well-known egotists, narcissists.
GC: May we never be "well-known" as "egotists and narcissists"! (We'll keep that part to ourselves!)
The following day.
CO: I just looked-up the poem, "Blitzkrieg Poetics," where Leonard states, "I want poems that combat the obvious." It's from O mphalos: Poems 2007.
GC: Not bad. " But, isn't that what most good poets/artists are trying to do? Trying to be original--not "combat the obvious"?
In response, CO sends the following: