Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Brian Richards and Byron

"What interests me is that Byron would be way down in the order of poets who have influenced me. Shelley and Blake among his contemporaries, but B is one of the few who made poetry out of his disgust with the ruling powers, and it is that affinity that made me offer this pairing." --Brian Richards.

"It's easy to be a Romantic," the poet said, "if you don't have to mind the evidence." What some come to do (e.g., Byron, Dorn, Richards)  is hard, head against rock of the world, the hard tasking of the self to maintain a vision of the otherwise, especially in a day when miscreance and inanity seep from every crevice in the culture 24-7 (though, to be honest, some of that includes reruns). Even worse, this meagerness and confusion of the spirit for centuries (many millennia) consistently parades itself as the ethical and intelligent (even spiritual) norm. Gravitas, indeed. They facilitate larceny on the citizenry, they infect nations with their confused rapacity for wealth and power, they cower from the imagination like a boy masturbating in the corner (to no avail), they spread their dissemination in thickening layers so that they, themselves in the end might believe them (also to no avail), they speed a significant portion of their time decorating their bunker, and they of the few good reasons to applaud death's agency, . . . . though they tend to last too long, while many poets die young . . . but not without comment!

But, of course
                           it might be thought that
when the Antiquities Advisory Board heads told the VeePee Something
Needed To Be Done to save Babylon and Nineveh from being
sacked again
                        they were informing the fox
that the chicken ladder had been
left down.
                            so. Il Consigliere had
long before been briefed on the Op to
procure for his new offices inside the mountain under
Camp David prelapsarian golden oldies.
                                                                   Only the Primary
Client had Mossadim to encourage the curators in separating
the ancient from the ersatz.
                                                Just a little
tidying up of the mess liberation
necessarily makes without
line-item expense to the Budget. 

                                           --Brian Richards


DON JUAN, Canto IX: i-ii.

        Oh, Wellington! (or "Villainton"--for Fame
      Sounds the heroic syllables both ways;
    France could not even conquer your great name,
      But punned it down to this facetious phrase--
    Beating or beaten she will laugh the same,)
      You have obtained great pensions and much praise:
    Glory like yours should any dare gainsay,
    Humanity would rise, and thunder "Nay!"
    I don't think that you used Kinnaird quite well
      In Marinèt's affair--in fact, 't was shabby,
    And like some other things won't do to tell
      Upon your tomb in Westminster's old Abbey.
    Upon the rest 't is not worth while to dwell,
      Such tales being for the tea-hours of some tabby;
    But though your years as man tend fast to zero,
    In fact your Grace is still but a young Hero.

                                                            --Lord George Gordon Byron


Bio: lives in a shack without pipes or wires on a ridge overlooking the Ohio River.


LOOSE FISH, Black Book, 1978
EARLY ELEGIES, Bloody Twin, 1992
LONG SONG WATER POND. Anthology. Bloody Twin, 1999.
ENRIDGED, University of New Orleans, 2011

New work appears periodically in HOUSE ORGAN.

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