An Unclear Thesis

Recently received my first copy of a collection by the illustrious Charles Simic whose poems have followed me everywhere since 2009: The World Doesn’t End. I devoured it in two sittings! May have done my library copy of Come Closer in one.

Here beside my newest book is one whose very presence on my shelf is a true pleasure: Oblivion Banjo by Charles Wright! Gorgeous in every way, the cover itself, its smoothness, delights me.

Placing these two poets side by side gave me an idea about myself. A kind of thesis resulted. As entertained as I obviously cannot help but be reading Simic, I feel the fable in his work as a step away from dailiness, that is, the day to day rhythms of writing in the midst of my children and the once natural world (my back yard is I-70, not the Blue Ridge Mountains, or whatever). Franz Wright, a student of Simic, whose work I have at times proclaimed to be by favorite, may have had a similar effect: Fun! I have to add James Tate to that darkly comedic bunch.

What Charles Wright has going on is different. His project is dailiness itself, glumness and mundanity, and mimetically cuts closer to the bone. I long for those depths but at the same time I am enchanted by the lights that glitter on the surface of the water.

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