Sunday, November 8, 2009

Aimless Reading: The E's, Part 4 (Larry Eigner)

Eigner, Larry
Windows Walls Yard Ways


Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books. I think this is the first book of Eigner's I ever read. I am pretty sure I bought it for my first class with Charles Bernstein. I recall that Ben Friedlander, who edited Eigner's collected writings and who was also a poetics student at the time, gave a talk in the class on Eigner. The subject was the challenges of editing the work, given Eigner's great limitations of speech and movement.

He brought in a tape on which he had preserved several answering machine messages Eigner had left for him. For the untrained ear, it was nearly impossible to understand. My recollection, which could be way off, was that on the messages he was detailing changes he wanted Ben to make on the manuscript.

Ben may also have provided a transcript of the conversation. I might be making that part up. I may also wrong about the content of those messages. The point of playing them, I am quite sure, was to provide a concrete example of some of the specific challenges Eigner's editors face when try to collect his work.

I am very excited to see that his four-volume collected poems is coming out later this year. I may have to take out a second mortgage to afford it, but it will be worth it.

Getting Old
           poems about
fences and vines

      on earth, while the sky
holds the quiet
fantastic dimensions
 masses and bits
through which the sun might glare
                  the attempt at standing still
      to show nothing is worth
      the final deliberation

the motors and
        islands
                    scattered to infinity
we had a thunderstorm here yesterday and
today's expected again

            pleasant

In August the leaves turn out
to a slow wind

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