Friday, January 27, 2012

Aimless Reading: The R's, Part 9 (Laura (Riding) Jackson)

The Poems of Laura Riding
Jackson, Laura (Riding)
The Poems of Laura Riding

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books, I think–most likely for a course with Charles Bernstein. I guess this should have been filed under "J" for Jackson. It's all very confusing. Sorry, Laura. In my library, you are Riding, at least for now.

I always think of Charles Bernstein when I think of Laura (Riding) Jackson. He was always a big promoter of her work. I also think of Carla Billiteri, briefly a classmate of mine in Buffalo, who wrote quite extensively on Jackson.

I never really think of the author or her poems, however.

I always associate them with someone else thinking or writing or talking about them. I read them in graduate school, but they never made a huge impression on me. I like a poem here and there, but for the most part I find them rigid and overly abstract.

I like this one, though.

Dear Possible

Dear possible, and if you drown

Nothing is lost, unless my empty hands
Claim the conjectured corpse
Of empty water–a legal vengeance
On my own earnestness.

Dear creature of event, and if I wait the clock,
And if the clock be punctual and you late,
Rail against me, my time, my clock,
And rightfully correct me
With wrong, lateness and ill-temper.

Dear Scholar of love,

If by your own formula
I open heaven to you
When you knock punctually at the door,
Then you are there, but I where I was.

And I mean that fate in the scales

Is up, down, even, trembling,
Right, wrong, weighing and unweighing,
And I mean that, dear possible,
That fate, that dear fate.

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