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Friday, 16 May 2008

Poem by Paul Hoover

Paul Hoover (pictured above) is, to my way thinking, something of a hero.

If that sounds a little naive or brash, then so be it. Ever since the age of 14, I have loved the idea of poet-anthologist-editor-critics like Ezra Pound who go out there, size a scene or a time or a movement up, and then help nudge it along, all the while creating their own writing, too.

Paul Hoover is that sort of writer (without the radio treason, to be sure) - he has been engaged with poetry in a variety of necessary ways over the last several decades: as poet (author of collections such as Totem and Shadow: New and Selected Poems and Winter (Mirror) ); as editor (of The Norton Anthology of Postmodern Poetry; and New American Writing, with Maxine Chernoff); as teacher (developing the Poetry Program at Columbia College); as critic (Fables of Representation) - this without even mentioning his prose (Saigon, Illinois) or film work (Viridian).

Hoover's writing and connected work is part of what it means to be a (North American) postmodern poet in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The way in which this immense field of North American poetry and poetics is somewhat (and the somewhat is key) neglected in the UK and Ireland is another story, one this blog explores from time to time.

It's good to have Paul Hoover here at Eyewear this Friday.


Famous

Famous snow falling,
covering a mountain famous for its snow.
Famous cedars lean in the wind.

The stone is famous at the bottom of the river.
But the river is normal enough.
It goes from here to there.

The famous dust is falling,
in nondescript corners and the famous corners, too,
where you stood or I stood

and someone will be standing
for the first time soon. Cup famous for some reason.
Bowl famous to its spoon.

Sunlight famous, most famous of all
as it climbs the garden wall.
Famous moon, coming through night

notorious for its darkness,
and Earth that is famous only on Earth,
with its sweet smell of history.

poem by Paul Hoover

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