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Monday, 21 December 2009

Bink Noll

As an anthologist I enjoy the bittersweet experience of reading forgotten anthologies of yesteryear - those charming time-tombs. No point in observing that most art is futile and ends in oblivion for most artists; we are mostly not Horace. Save our souls, but forget our names. Chad Walsh that great Champion of CS Lewis from Beloit College edited thanklessly a long unused Scribners anthology from 1964, Today's Poets. 45 years later it mainly holds up well though we no longer speak of wild man poets. Ginsberg is absent. Walsh predicts great things for Walcott but doesn't particularly enthuse about Larkin. The great Eberhart is given his due. Carl Bode we don't much read now. Nor Gil Orlovitz. Good to have them here. Vassar Miller is an intriguing poet. However I most enjoyed encountering Walsh's Beloit friend, Princeton man, the poet Bink Noll.

Noll, born in 1927, has the best poet name, no? I love the name Bink Noll. Anyway, he is too obscure now, but wrote well, if not superbly, in the period style. Noll's life apparently turned in middle age, when he openly explored his gay identity but also sadly became encumbered by illness. He left his family and went on a new path only publishing a third book later in life. Christmas is, among other things, about encountering redemptive origins, small gestures of joy opening to greater demarcations. I wish to think of Bink Noll at Christmas. The least great and lesser are not lost ever fully if love survives.
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