Tuesday, April 27, 2010
zach savich on norman dubie
Is “Meditation at Lagunitas” greater than Robert Hass? Is any Robert Duncan poem greater than his use of “ensouling?” Is his “Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow” great or does it just have great first and last lines? What about Alice Notley’s “The Prophet”—I’ve often quoted lines from it (“The purpose of awakening is black coffee”; “You are not great you are life”) but have never been moved to memorize or copy-out the whole piece. This is typical of my favorite poems: with effort, you can memorize any poem, but the best lines seem to stick with me whether I want them to or not; I often forgive dull books that have three great lines.