Friday, August 20, 2004

Gary Snyder Part Three

The third section of Snyder’s ‘danger on peaks’ is advertised as “some of the poet’s most personal work ever.” That’s not necessarily saying that Gary is going confessional on us. Far from it. Snyder’s world is never personal in that western way. But the first poem of the section, “What to Tell, Still”, has Snyder reading “Laughlin’s Collected Poems / with an eye to writing a comment”.
J puts his love for women
his love for love, his devotion, his pain, his causing-of-pain, right out there.
He ends the poem:
So recklessly bold—foolish?—
to write so much about your lovers
when you’re a long-time married man. Then I think,
what do I know?
About what to say
or not to say, what to tell, or not, to whom,
or when,

In the rest of this the section, Snyder continues that question in verse. But these are not prurient reflections. Maybe just some passing photographs. Such confessions raise more questions than give us insights into this poet’s life. I find this in “Waiting for a Ride” a fine example of that:

My former wife has become a unique poet;
most of my work
such as it is is done.

(*Note: I'm having trouble putting the proper indentation in Snyder's lines)

1 comment:

Dave said...

Have you read Laughlin? I like him a lot. Better than Snyder, in fact, who is often too didactic for my taste. Laughlin almost succeeds in channelling Catullus - or sometimes Horace. (Not that I can read either of them in the original.)