By Richard Hugo
Richard Hugo, whom Carolyn Kizer has called" probably the most passionate, vigorous, and sincere poets living," the following bargains a unprecedented selection of new poems, each a "letter" or a "dream." either letters and desires are detailed manifestations of alone-ness; Hugo's distinctive senses of alone-ness, of locations, and of different individuals are the forces in the back of his distinctively American and more and more authoritative poetic voice. each one letter is written from a particular position that Hugo has made his personal (a "triggering town," as he has referred to as it somewhere else) to a pal, a fellow poet, an previous love. We learn over the poet's shoulder because the city triggers the mind's eye, the friendship is re-opened, the poet's selfhood is explored and illuminated. The "dreams" happen without notice (as desires do) one of the letters; their haunting pictures supply extra intensity to the poet's exploration. Are we overhearing them? who's the "you" that goals?
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Extra info for 31 Letters and 13 Dreams: Poems
47 And A simple plunge will plummet you through the black sky. Once, Pamela’s palm kept me floating: in the moment before of the moment after crystallised in between, Florentine, who can’t swim stands and watches. And the houses and the bars and Mary and Jimmy’s remorse and Scooby’s and Thatha’s commingling, and the twenty-year-old who wrote this, and the thirty-two years he revised, and Jan whose book The River Why made him live it, and the fifteen-year-old who told himself the tale, and of the now in which it is alien, in the now which was the moment of, what can be said, except that the universe stayed mostly empty despite the lively plots we farmed.
But dangerous, very dangerous. ” 64 He was talking, and I was getting drowsy from all those fast and sharp curves he was taking. I wondered why it was that people told unpleasant stories driving through the postcard woods in their nice cars, back from tennis at the club. I wondered why he was telling me the story at all, out of nowhere, what his designs were, what he wanted. I wanted to look at the trees: through the side windows, the trees were dark striations; in front, white smoke in white light.
Lapsible, crude and bitter hope of return. But nothing will be the same. Please, nurse your wounds. Recopy your name in this ledger here, begin. Find something to believe in. 37 IN BROOKLYN Day 1 Bright red boots like daybreak, calves oddly firm and generous, she dallies in front of him like a twist of cursive neon, squirms politely while he looks on. It’s a lazy adventure on these liberated streets: many walk with condoms in case of surreptitious grace. By subway cafés on the quirk of windy March, people meet as if by design, then flared flesh begs to be pitied, roundly amplified.
31 Letters and 13 Dreams: Poems by Richard Hugo