I can believe how fresh his work reads, glad his first book of concrete poems, Konfessions of an Elizabethan Fan Dancer, has been re-released by Coach House Press. Editor Nelson Ball zeroes in on the sources of this freshness in his introduction: “Nichol’s typewriter concrete, although not extensive in itself, is at the core of his development as a writer. Through it he discovered aspects of language frequently ignored by other writers. Concrete poetry at its best is a contemplative poetry, allowing the writer and the reader to consider visual, aural and literal meanings together.” [my emphasis]
I can’t believe our only choices in 2004 are Ralph Nader, John Kerry, George Bush, and …
I can believe I will vote though it almost always feels like spilled seed. Why isn’t Onan running?
I can’t believe how bloggers Geoff Huth and Ron Silliman and others find the time to write thought-deepening essays while most of us write logs – you know, floating things, the things that go bump on kevlar canoe-- when they’ve got children under their wings.
I can believe they are as good of fathers for their children as they are for their words, for their ideas. I can believe I am just as pleased to hear that bump in the current -- deep in its own way -- as to cruise the essays, to hear the laughs of all children.
I can’t believe the marigolds got fried again on the back deck. I can’t believe I typed the last two words of the previous sentence “back neck.” (I suppose there is a front neck and two side necks.)
I can believe I may have the best butternut squash harvest I’ve ever had (unless my children run through the garden again, snatching at everything they can, it seems, to supply their bottomless jars and cups of Harry Potter potions). I can believe that Snape is not as snape as he seems.
I can’t believe how beautiful Bob Grumman’s mathemaku are.
I can believe this beauty has not come easy. Bob has lived and worked his ass off as a poet. Contact Bob for copies of early mathemaku to see the growth in these poems.
I can’t believe I can believe.
I can believe I can’t believe.
I can’t believe in what many writers think is “new.” I can’t believe “new” is the primary criterion for many readers. I can't believe in the cult of the new.
I can believe that new is relative. I can believe that Emily Dickinson for many readers is as new as new gets. I can believe that for many of the readers I work with Richard Lopez will be delightfully new. I can believe, then, that “new” generates reading. I can believe in reading.
I can’t believe the American public believes anything our President says. I can’t believe he isn’t being impeached for war crimes.
I can believe that the American public believes excessively in the surface, the pedestrian service, of words. I can believe that poets do their best to counteract the foregoing belief.
I can’t believe the tip of my tongue.
I can only believe the tip of my tongue.
I can’t believe I haven’t had that experience of newness as a reader for over twenty years.
I can believe I’ve read some of the damnedest fine poetry I've read in my lifetime in the last twenty years, in the last twenty hours, in the last twenty minutes. I can believe, too, that I will experience newness as a person or I will be dead.
I can’t believe how tasty I found Harryette Mullen’s Muse and Drudge. (I can’t believe that I just read that as Moose & Drudge. Hmm, moose and muse, here in Idaho, maybe those two words are interchangeable.) I can’t believe how much that work “interfered” with my reading, overwhelming, strangling, any other text I picked up. I can’t believe how the strong effects of Mullen's poems made it difficult to write unless I wrote spontaneous quatrains, riffs upon riffs upon irffs, word-jazzes.
I can't believe I put the can't first.
I can believe. I'll give that the final word.