Tuesday, April 25, 2006
The Lost "Worlds" of William Bronk--(a call for comments)
Some friends and I are putting together an AWP proposal which will be, in a sense, a tribute to the often neglected work of the late William Bronk. My leg of the thing is "pleasure," essentially. I'm in the early stages. Why read Bronk? And also, why don't we read him? As I reread and read for the first time many selections from his nine or so volumes, i'm struck by how, on the surface, he (and this is no slight) seems to have written the same poem time and again. “It is always hard like this, not having a world, / to imagine one…And oh, it is always a world and not a world” (“At Tikal"). With his unique brand of dialectics, and his often intellectual and rhetorical investigations (which can sometimes soar with their resulting abstractions) Bronk’s poems are often propositions to be tested--both asserting and yanking from under us what we may have thought was essential, was fixed to/in our lives, what was the very scaffolding of our existence. Bronk’s poems themselves are seemingly devoid of the common triggers of contemporary poetic pleasure, especially those flowing from the spring of William Carlos Williams’ famous dictum: “No ideas but in things.” And of course, Bronk’s poetry resists metaphor, largely. Yet, as readers we notice the philosophy in/of his poems riding the great wave of the lyric tradition. Bronk's investigative discourse always remains fresh, but perhaps most noticeably distinct, is that it is never afraid of size or scale. This is most honest. And for the willing reader, the wonder in Bronk’s "worlds," which are never the same "worlds" twice, is in his absolute desire for truth in them.
What do you think of William Bronk?