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Duane Locke: The First Decade (1968-1978) First Edition
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Several themes predominate; among them a supreme reverence for the sanctity of Nature, a keen awareness of the overarching absurdity punctuating Human existence and an acute aversion to things mundane. Locke has endeavored always to render the word transparent, thereby allowing his contrasted images to hover disembodied in the air of the poem. From THE WORD: "Word, when I find you/under the leaf, under the stone/under the barnacle covered driftwood/I gaze at your birth."
Duane Locke: THE FIRST DECADE (1968-1978) is a sterling opportunity for readers and scholars of Poetry to gaze at the birth of a seminal philosopher/poet whose life and work will illuminate and educate for ages to come. "Let us/find in the sandgrains/a memory of the holy feathers/from the flown bird." (CACTUS) This inspiring and inspired volume chronicles first-hand the genesis of one of Contemporary Poetry's most distinguished and original voices.
Duane Locke did not begin writing poetry during his adolescent years as most do; he began after a deep study of philosophy and then only after a dare: "THE LEAF the beginning comes not from the bag on the antique desk,/not from falling into the soft nets of many hands./the beginning comes from the microscope of the eye,/ from the brain's focusing on the leaf,/ the brown and green leaf, the long leaf,/the spear shaped leaf, the wavering leaf,/ the leaf surrounded by ripples of frog water,..." Leaves are not green speeding by the car. The blackbird is purple, with golden edges rippling from the sunlight. There is an unusual joy gathered in the immanent poems that unpin the imagination. When you look at a strawberry, you will wonder whose eyes closed to allow these to open. No wonder the first decade of Duane Locke's poetry inspired a new generation of poets. Over 32 of his students, and counting, are internationally noted.
This would be a better world if everyone could receive the message: "FOAM ON GULF SHORE This time/I really cried/not the baby's surprise/but deeper tears/At this birth/there were no parents/No one/Only a desire/A desire/for what I can never have/A desire/that seems more foolish this time/A desire for someone to whom I can give /the secret message/of my unknown self..." Duane Locke: The First Decade (1968-1978)
On poetry itself, as well as the mind of the poet, Locke's thoughts are strong and definitive--a manifesto:
"I feel the difference between a craftsman and a genuine poet is that a craftsman knows what he is doing, he has conscious pre-knowledge, and he, through deliberate labor, developed a skill that can manipulate the reader. He knows the formulas to simulate feelings. ... Now, on the other hand, a genuine poet does not know what he is doing. A genuine poet does not write with conscious foreknowledge. This rare being writes to discover what is not in the archives of standard perception, standard feeling and standard thinking, and what at that time is not even in his conscious awareness. He sends his discovery out into the world and hopes that someone, adventurous and open, will discover some of his discovery."
This long-awaited compilation takes us into the formative years of a genius artist and introduces the reader to many of the subjects and themes that have come to characterize his work and have proven so challenging to his imitators: a focus on dasein, stippled with wry often humorous insights and observations about the foibles of Man, and a reverential appreciation of the natural order or, as he terms it, "the Sacred". In elegant simplicity, his opus Foam on Gulf Shore invites the reader to share in wondrous poetic `discovery' of the world that surrounds as well as its most interior recesses. `I am the poet who specializes /in loving things/ snails spiders mud pelicans pine cones/bark feathers fur and the armadillos hide' Then, as in a gorgeous legato movement, the reader is lifted in the creator's arc: `I now speak words/whose deeper sounds/are beyond my hearing/I say/I cannot destroy what little I have/this moment of foam/... I will remain on this shore/where hair finger legs are born as long as the wind/will allow you to stay/and write us into a poem.'
This landmark volume invites every reader to experience poetry as 'living, linguistic reality' and, in doing so, probe and explore into the heart of the art form itself.
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a man of marriageable age kissing a mechanical ape."Read more