Silliman and Wordsworth
This from poet Tom Thompson (Wordsworth and Common Speech) on the Academy of American Poets website:
"When Charles Bernstein praises Ron Silliman’s poems, he positions the work precisely against the type of poem championed by Wordsworth’s Preface: Silliman’s poems "may discomfort those who want a poetry primarily of personal communication, flowing freely from the inside with the words of a natural rhythm of life, lived daily" (Content’s Dream). Admiring how Silliman’s poems work against "official verse culture," Bernstein makes it official: The Preface, written to support a poetic "experiment" in 1800 is now the rule. Wordsworth, of course, wrote against his own "official verse culture," and did so precisely by writing "from the inside with the words of a natural rhythm of life, lived daily."
One of the things I like about Ron Silliman's poetry is that it does reflect a life lived daily. Of all the Language poets he is the most down to earth, the most non theoretical, the most "daily." Not the most inside, but the most outside. So, I am a little startled by Bernstein's comment. Silliman's poems work against official verse culture by the way they present daily life and thought, directly and without any terribly formal structure (except some Jackson MacLow/John Cage chance operational structures here and there). They are not romantic, nor lyrical in the way of much "official verse culture." But, reflecting "a natural rhythm of live, lived daily." that they do. Better than anyone now writing. And in interesting language. But, maybe I am reading a different Ron Silliman than some other people. You know, like the New York Times you read in your head, that was never really published ("Oh, I'm sure I saw that in the Times." )