Sunday, January 15, 2012

Aimless Reading: The R's, Part 2.2 (Tom Raworth)

Clean & Well Lit
Raworth, Tom
Clean & Well Lit: Selected Poems 1975-1995

Acquired when I worked at the Segue Foundation in NYC, publisher of Roof Books and thus this.

I wasn't sure if that was where I had obtained this until I opened it up and discovered inside a catalog from 1996 or 7. It also contains a photocopied excerpt from the October/November 1997 issue of the Poetry Project Newsletter that highlights a review of Clean & Well Lit and a title by Laura Moriarty. It was written by Chris Stroffolino.

Hmm...the date on that review, though, leads me to believe that my first impression was correct. I moved to Buffalo in August of 1997, which means this review did not actually appear until after my arrival. This leads me to conclude that I bought the book in Buffalo, sometime after the Fall of 1997. Probably 1998.  As I mentioned the other day, I remember him reading in Buffalo around that time.

That said, I remember distinctly taking a copy of this book home when I did work at Segue. It's entirely possible that I simply borrowed it and then returned my copy after I'd read it. I never saw Tom read in New York, but everyone always referred to him as that poet who reads his poems really fast, as if that was all there was to it. I guess it's hard for people to think too far beyond their initial impressions of art or artists.

Anyhow, it looks like the catalog is from my time in NYC. Roof was about to publish the XUL reader. I remember this coming out while I was still living there. They were also about to publish We Speak Silent, by Hannah Wiener.

from Clean & Well Lit

Out of a Sudden

                                (Riva san Vitale, August 30 1995)

the alphabet wonders

what it should do
paper feels useless
colours lose hue

while all musical notes

perform only in blue

a lombardy poplar

shadows the ground
drifted with swansdown
muffling the sound

at the tip of the lake

of the road to the south

above in the night sky

scattered by chance
stars cease in heir motion
poppies don't dance

in the grass standing still

by the path no-one walks

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