Over breakfast we have have some pretty far ranging conversations. I am usually reading some poems (lately a selection Larry put together of his Berryman favorites), Larry is reading the Wall St. Journal or the NY Times. I read parts of these, too, the “soft” parts. I try to avoid the news, letting Larry be my filter. If it’s ever time to flee, I count on him to let me know.

Yesterday I was musing on what makes Louise Gluck’s poetry so powerful. Her imagery is not gorgeous, and her language tends to be plain not flashy.  Yet the poetry is strong. Currents of feeling move though it and jump out at you. And Larry said: Yes, Berryman writes like a man on a high wire; but Louise stands on the ground. Continue reading “Snippets”

More about William Dickey

There are so many good poets who write in relative obscurity. Bill Dickey (whose poem I posted yesterday), was part of Berryman’s famous class at Iowa and taught poetry for over 30 years at San Francisco State. Don’t confuse Bill with another poet, James Dickey, who is very well known (and in my view a much lesser poet).  Bill published 15 volumes of poetry, and was well thought of by fellow poets, but his work is almost unknown to the general public. Larry was lucky enough to study with him in 1968, and then again in the late 70s. He says of Bill: Continue reading “More about William Dickey”