Saturday, April 19, 2008

Aye-Aye? Eye, Ye? E-i-o?

I wasn't living in the States when George Plimpton selected Aram Saroyan's poem


for Paris Review , thus earning him (and it) $500 of National Endowment for the Arts funding and inviting the fury of Senator Jesse Helms and others (almost all Republicans, interestingly) at the use of government funding for something Helms didn't think was a poem and certainly thought was misspelled. (The reasons it's not misspelled I hope to post on another day. But I'm still writing that darn essay and can't stop long today.)

This post isn't really about that poem, but the fact that, in the context of Aram Saroyan's eponymous first book, the poem is in a sequence between




I never knew that until I was reading his Complete Minimal Poems today. I feel like more people should know that. Because while there's something so delicious and open about "lighght," I'm thrilled to think of it in sequence with these two other words, to construct such phrases as "eyeye lighght morni,ng" and hear "a light mourning" or "I like morning."

I'm looking forward to spending much more time with his book. Another favorite is crickets, which I can't reproduce here. Go out and find it!

PS: Ugly Duckling Presse do amazing year-long subscription deals. $80 for a year of amazing poetry in the most beautiful editions, books that make owning a book really worthwhile and essential. I had one last year and didn't get one this year. I regret that. I'm getting me one again for next season. I recommend it.

1 comment:

John Gallaher said...

For similar reasons (or maybe not similar reasons) I've always been partial to George Starbuck as well.