Sunday, March 12, 2006

Search For Tagliabue, Poet

John Tagliabue in full flight of a reading, Bates College Reunion '98.Posted by Picasa

Now, what is poetry? If you say it is simply a matter of words, I will say a good poet gets rid of words. If you say it is simply a matter of meaning, I will say a good poet gets rid of meaning. "But," you ask, "without words and without meaning, where is the poetry?" To this I reply, "Get rid of words and get rid of meaning, and still there is poetry."

---Yang Wan-Li

Poetry, to the poet, is the most rewarding work in the world. A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape and significance of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself, and the world around him...

---Dylan Thomas

If there is any absolute, it is never more than this one, you, this instant, in this action.

---Charles Olson

I wonder whether friend and mentor, John Tagliabue, would agree with fellow poet Olson on that notion. I never try to corner a poet about the Absolute. I prefer to follow them about to see what spouts. Our Anglican priest in sermon today shared the Jewish blessing, "May you be covered in the dust of your rabbi!" The point is get close to your teacher, maybe especially around his feet.

At any rate, Tagliabue sent me this poem recently on sort of the same Charles Olson subject~~~

With sometimes Song
and its myriad descendents

cast with the dice & the stars
there is no winning or losing but


I hope you like what Dylan said about poetry up there. It always is sweet, sacred teaching when poets speak about the art and act and thought of It itself. Tagliabue said this~~~

Writing the poem is not a trouble for me, it is not a problem. When my mind-body-spirit and impulse unite, I write and that's it. It's a compulsion, it makes me feel that it makes "reality" complete, and that's all. But when later I force myself to make judgment-selection and I think what does this poem mean---it's not a natural urgent activity for me. Nevertheless it is persistent for me that after the poem is written I'd like to have it received, responded to; I'd like the poems to be read by many. I'm critical while writing---in that I'm making split second decisions, that's dramatic, part of the sense of crisis and climax---but once it's happened it's Happened. Nature has designed the quality of mercy that falls like the gentle rain from heaven; nature has designed the snowflakes; my character and my life's nature-and-needs have designed the poems; they have come they are here. This is not to say that later I think them all equally "good"; (but I do feel that it's good for me that they all happened, that they have been made; of course I do feel there is the urge-cadence-rhythm; the necessity which will and reasoning alone cannot command, and also my mind---such as it is---with its imagination and needs, making the poem). I feel writing the poems is my work, a most vital part of my life.

The Collected Poem

I didn't want it to be
an entertainment commodity
a seminar commodity
an attitude to be approved of
by this fashion or that ideology
I had no plans or programs or theories for it
but it was from my heart
of no importance
of all importance
it was not to be named or foretold
it alone gave me freedom

The strange, for me, title for this article or essay or entry is for the purpose of Google/search engine appeal. Since I began to write on the Internet, I have met the most amazing people who somehow were searching for something---often themselves---and came upon jazzoLOG. (Once and for all, there is no big deal about that name: I was trying to sign into a jazz message board a half dozen years ago, and "jazzology" already was taken: lazy dude that I am, I simply submitted the word without the "y" and it took.) The other day somebody Searched "John Tagliabue" and found me...and hopefully a letter is in the mail from that guy to John. Tagliabue is almost 83, and insists as follows~~~

If you feel like it---sure, send out any of my poems---but please not any of the "medical reports" now---

All sorts of composers, performers, play upon
us musically

We are all little victims of the genetic cosmic forces,
not only
children and adults and young friendly boys who roll on
the ground in
fits of laughter - ( remember those days ? I do.)
Victims ? anyway
forces like antic numerous gods, or fantastic
Influences in
a Javanese Puppet Play. So it goes, so we come
and go as
spectators, actors, in a wonderous unaccountable
Right now in little Rhode Island there is an Immense
and I am writing a few phrases, this makes me feel
like a magician; and I magically like musical
and sometimes I think of you as a pianoforte.

I am writing urgently---for Search Engine identification (Hey US: "terrorism"!)---because I would like there to be a large audience for John Tagliabue's reading and/or appearance at the Concord, Massachusetts library 2 weeks from today: March 26th. His readings are legend, and there may not be many more: phone the library before you drive over~~~

Surprises are light as can be

To release the dove
how many years of love have you
to learn from?
turn towards all the birds in the trees you've
seen, all the
green uprisings in poems and people you've known,
all the acts of
kindness friends and saints have shown, burn and
turn with the
Holy Spirit, see how Noah and Christ, whiter than
the foam, more
powerful and magnificent than Rome, have the
powers of
non-possessive love as they see you walking
on the
waters of the sea towards them.


for Krystyna Wasserman

This is what we continue to hope for


John Tagliabue
November 7, 2005

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