Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Leland Hickman: Against Taxonomies
There may come a time when our cultural provincialisms will be seen with a wider lens. In the world of poetry, what urgently seemed the product of one or another region, of this or that school of thought or MFA program or social network or journal, will be seen as threads of a whole fabric, American perhaps, perhaps European. That we haven't yet arrived at that moment does nothing if not cement our notions of boundaries, categories, organizations, and the specificities, but also the limitations that go with them.
Leland Hickman would have none of that, at least not when it came to poetry. In his work as editor and in his vocation as poet, he resisted such limitations, he rejected orthodox taxonomies.
-- Dennis Phillips, introduction to Tiresias: The Collected Poems of Leland Hickman, ed. Stephen Motika, Nightboat Books/Otis Books, 2009
o my offence is rank it smells to high heaven try what repentance can what can it not? o wretched state o bosom black as death which means mainly England and the United States forever since birth alone hometown hero used to scream at his blue apartment walls because he was I wish I had an excuse to really hate you after I got the money I prepared myself dinner I have become inordinately fond of chicken livers you gave me a very important gift loneliness you could listen to my Peter Paul and Mary records I could cook you lots of roast beef and potato salad what without love we touched pronouncing good a master of comic timing bene dick of insolent charm and grace enjoys every minute of it
-- excerpt from Leland Hickman, "rhapsody Macaulay not historian his story," ca. 1964?
Pictured: Nepenthes smilesii