Robert Urquhart teaches
economics in Denver, Colorado. A chapbook of his poems, Commentaries
Aristotle, may, one day, be published by Potes and Poets
Question #4: Susan Maxwell writes, “The poem furrows
a way out of the white by running over it, while still white
underneath ink.” Brian Kitely composes “postcard
stories” that are, quite literally, started on the back
of postcards that are then mailed to friends and family, after
which the stories are rewritten and revised. And Bin Ramke finds
that, “the necessity to make the tiny announcements that
are line-ends in ‘standard’ verse becomes sometimes,
often, annoying, arbitrary, and ultimately misleading.” Why
do you write pp/ffs? How are your stories and poems brought into
Recently, I have been taking a break from the line – not
that I have anything against it. One way away from it is to let
the words appear anywhere they choose on the page. I found that
I could use all the space on the page best (making it simply a
field in Olson’s sense) if I turned it on its side, so there
is more room from left to right.
A possibility was words one after another all the way across this
long side of the page. The words then lose all sense of making
up a line. They are just a string of words.
From that I thought that I would string words together with the
page right side up, and an arbitrary right hand margin as in prose.
I also had in mind the form of René Char’s aphoristic
fragments with an indentation for each new section.
Each section, then, has the outward form of a prose paragraph,
though without initial capitals or punctuation, so the words are
on their own without anything else to hold them together.
I like the invocation of the prose paragraph by something that
is not really prose, like the hummingbird moth’s eerie impersonation,
or the sound of the carriages of Frankfurt that Heidi mistook for
the wind in the pines on her mountain.
The string of words calls in question the relations among them,
where the line asserts these. An ideal here is found in Pierre
Boulez’s description of the music of Anton Webern: “each
phenomenon is considered as at the same time autonomous and interdependent.” But
this may be even harder in words than in music.