Saturday, June 21, 2008

William Bronk: Manifest; And Furthermore

Manifest; And Furthermore, William Bronk (North Point, 1987)


This may be my favorite of the Bronk books I've read so far. Okay, sure, it's still obsessed with the "big" questions of the meaning of life (meaningless), the reality of the world (indeterminable), the place of humanity (an infinitesimal specklet); and he's still given to positing it all in terms of a "we" that I instinctively draw back from (we who?, Mr Bronk, I keep saying). But there's a coy humor & a variety of voice in the poems of Manifest thatseem to fade from WB's later volumes, & even – mirabile dictu – the intimation of other human beings, as if the whole exercise might be part of a dialogue or conversation, rather than heroic & despairing Bronkisms uttered in the face of the unechoing void. In "Manner of Speaking" –
So much of what we say is, as we say,
a way to say it. Those not content with that
may begin to believe what is said. Even, at times,
the speakers do. Better is what they should know.
– one even gets a taste of the inimitable wisdoms of that diminutive Zen master Yoda.
Blogging my way thru 100 poem-books is really a pretty damned arbitrary exercise, no? But it's turning out to be rather more fun that I thought it would be. Trying to avoid obiter dicta & blurbisms (with varying success): perhaps merely reading notes to myself, in the end.

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