Translations From Creeley

This is a little chap book of mine that Roger Snell recently published through his Sardines Press. It’s got a few short poems in it that came out of a “translation” project that was assigned to us way back in the early days of workshop at Texas State. Though some of the poems share titles with Creeley’s, they are not “translations” in the sense of sitting down with the actual poems and chiseling out new versions, or interpreting them somehow — I guess I have to clarify that, since people have asked me. I was just reading a lot of Creeley at the time — still am, actually — and writing poems that I thought responded to some of the principles and ideas about sound, break, and attention that I discovered in them.

Here’s one:


Let’s build it out of
Mr. Gibson’s guts, cut out
summer to make room for
cancer, a house
awaits in the sun.

I only recently discovered there is a poem by Creeley called “The Turn” (though given his concerns, it’s not terribly surprising). It’s in his book Words, which I recently found a copy of at the wonderful local bookstore Rustbelt. Also, this essay on Creeley by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, to which Roger alerted me during my visit to SF in August, brought some of these issues to light and life in a new way…

All this to say there is no particular claim for originality here, but these poems at that time were an important step for me. My thanks to Roger for showing an interest in the work and bringing it out in this lovely form. The books are small, hand-sewn, with covers using a gocco (“go-co”) press and a design hand-drawn by Roger. (That’s Asha‘s paw flashing across the top of the image.)

There are a limited number of these babies left, and I’m offering them for sale to those who might also have an interest. All proceeds will go to support upcoming issues of kadar koli and habenicht press.

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