Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hanging Loose 90

Hanging Loose 90. (231 Wyckoff St. Brooklyn, NY 11217) $11

Mark Pawlak, who along with Somerville, Mass. resident Dick Lourie and Robert Hershon, is an editor of the venerable small press and literary magazine “Hanging Loose.” Pawlak sent me the latest issue of “Hanging Loose with a note steering me to his article concerning the late, celebrated Somerville poet Denise Levertov, and her husband Mitch Goldman. Pawlak met and was befriended by Levertov when he was a student at MIT in the late 60’s. Pawlak gives the reader a view of the poetic as well as the political life of Levertov, who was a dyed-in-the-wool civil rights and anti-war activist. Pawlak points out that Levertov distrusted formal education, and for the most part was an autodidact. Pawlak writes:

“Denise distrusted formal education, which she felt all too frequently resulted in mis-education.”

Pawlak reports that Levertov proved to be an endless font of wisdom about her craft. He writes:

“Denise admonished me: It was not worth my while, nor was it productive for me to keep struggling with one particular poem in an effort to get it ‘right.’ Sometimes you have to give it up—abandon it was the word she used… You have to move on and open yourself to new poems.”

Pawlak who is well-regarded both as an editor and a poet was told by Levertov not to become an editor:

“Denise professed to greatly value the work of magazine and press editors, admitting that she would find it hard to survive as a writer with out their efforts, but she nevertheless thought that to become one was the death knell for a poet. Denise believed in the primacy of the poet’s calling and jealously guarded her time to write.”

Also in this issue is some fine poetry. I greatly enjoyed the lead poem by Jack Anderson “As We Grow Old Together”

As We Grow Old Together

We do not mention it, ever,
yet every morning we study each other,
and although each of us surely suspects,
we say nothing about it,

yet every morning we study each other,
searching for any new and suspicious
never before noticed tremble or quaver;
without saying anything we watch what we do.

and when we start talking we track our words,
alert for any fresh memory collapse,
any phrase that unravels and trails off to no end
or runs headlong away, then limps into mumble,

and after we’ve carefully studied each other
we sigh with relief, happy to find
we can go on as before at least one day more,
so we say “Good morning” and give thanks it is good.

Highly Recommended.

Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update

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