Saturday, March 7, 2009

Aimless Reading: The B's, Part 59 (George Butterick)

Butterick, George
The Collected Poems of George Butterick


This was given to me by either Mike Basinski, who curates the Poetry Collection at UB, or by Matt Chambers, who used to work for Mike. The Poetry Collection at one time did some publications of its own, including this, several books by Joel Oppenheimer, and many issues of the literary magazine Credences. None of these ever sold very well, and the PC has been giving them all away for several years now, seemingly with no end in sight. I am fairly certain it was Matt who gave me this, along with a complete set of Credences, all of the Joel Oppenheimer books, and a really sweet autographed Creeley chapbook. (I think I am allowed to mention that now that Matt lives in Poland).

I've glanced through this book a few times, only to conclude that Butterick found his true calling in editing the work of Charles Olson, which was a great gift to everyone.

Here's a short poem:

1968

                  The persistence and efficacy
of which 'blind' belief...; the thorough
quickening pour of America through the
drains; and reading about the ancient star
clock Egyptian calendar known from only
coffins where it had been painted on the lid
to enable the dweller dim, the corpse, to tell
time to tell, assuming great patience, the
proper time to rise up like the wolfman out
of the coffin where it had been on the inside
of the lid & not left up to some instinctive
stir or hunger to arise in the blood, but
bright steadily reckoning eyes in the night.

In this way, the leaders return, the leaders
of the people.

3 comments:

rdeming said...

"I've glanced through this book a few times, only to conclude that Butterick found his true calling in editing the work of Charles Olson, which was a great gift to everyone."

Ouch! I mean, I agree but...meeoww! And I have an extensive Butterick collection--mainly from hanging around the poetry collection. Though somehow I have other things and I can't remember how I came by them.

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

In the immortal words of Dudley Moore in "Arthur":

"Some of us drink because we aren't poets."

Dan Coffey said...

I too was given a copy by Mike B. I love that book. Butterick wasn't a "great" poet, but some of those poems are a hoot. I'd take that volume over the entire Credence series. I got another Butterick book a few months ago from SPD during their "death of capitalism" sale, but I haven't looked at it yet.