w/ the spider's
"The perennial Hawthornian antagonism between sickly desire and imperious guilt is critical in (his stories)", notes Fredrick Crews in the introduction to The Great Short Works of Hawthorne. We need to consider Hawthorne's peers, the predominant literary modes of thought included Emersonian transcendentalism, which established a direct link between the actions of the divine and man and Blakean dialectics which involves the concordance between good and evil, an existence of light and dark or prolific and devouring forces in a necessary co-relation- a sort of yin yang proposistion regarding the way the Universe operates. Certainly Hawthorn'e writing was influenced by these areas of literary concern. Yet it is the preoccupation with personal revelation and trial-the paradox of a sinfulness that we actually desire, that make Hawthorne's work so impressive. Loss of faith, the fall through myriad levels of sin, the continued struggle between the redemptive light and an all encompassing darkness-these are the areas that Hawthorne considered deeply through his writing. We must also briefly notice the connection between the later Surrealist movement in France, which used dreams as a foundation for poetry and stark prose and the dream scape that Hawthorne creates in Young Goodman Brown and other stories such as Ethan Brand and The Minister's Black Veil. Was the story a dream? The lines between reality and dreaming are mixed and blurred. The reality principle is challenged. Our existence is seen in terms of the dream realm. The imagined, vision, is given credibility over the usual rationalistic logic that only accepts the earthly, tangible, temporal side of thinking. I think of what Socrates said about the dream state which was that we must exist in the dream realm and in our waking state of consciousness; therefore neither one is more valid.
It makes sense that so many Outlaw Poets are Appalachian since it is
very much of an outsider culture to begin with and Outlaw Poetry is
(like Outsider Art) concerned with the remembrance of the lost.
My first encounter with Robert Frost was my Father's reading of Stopping By A Woods on A Snowy Evening to our family and it was my first experience with poetry. The poem has a mystical quality and convey's the eternal well (even to wide eyed children before Christmas). I always felt that Frost was responsible for connecting poetry and the people again after a long and rather academic alienation or divorce if you will. I recall reading about a poetry reading Frost did with Archibald Macliesh, who had passed out his poems to the audience as well and during the reading at some point Frost lit one of the poems and yelled "Fire, Fire!, watching it burn before the audience's amazement. I found a beautiful anthology of Frost's poems that contains all of his books (eleven total) Edited by Edward Lathem and first published in 1969. Frost reminds me a lot of Sherwood Anderson as well, who is a poetic storyteller of Midwest America (Ohio) and who also handles the "dark paradoxes" of life well within his work. I also found that Frost was very evocative of Whitman's verse, without as much consecutive cataloging of images.
I just came across a photo of Robert Bly on his farm in
2009 and thought about how important his poetry has been
to me over the years and his teaching as well. I was given an anthology
Bly had Edited and a video back around 1990-92 or so. The book was titled
"The Rag & Bone Shop of The Heart" and I recently purchased the hardback
version of it because I love it so much. The video was a tape of a Bill Moyer's PBS
special that featured Robert Bly and his work with the men's movement at the time.
It was called "A Gathering of Men" and in it Bly performs spoken word poems
with music and lectures gatherings of men. The poetry is transcendent and beautiful
and his reading of "The Wind One Brilliant Day" inspired me to perform it with my own
band later on. There is a healing component to Bly's work, but not without digging around
in the "mud" of everyday life and going through the grief that all of us face first. I always
thought of Robert Bly as one of my Spiritual Fathers, a Poet who cares about Souls.
I agreed with Prof. Patrick Gainer, who fought to overcome years of hillbilly stereotyping by those outside Appalachia. The reason I believe we need to reclaim our identity is it has been taken from us by those that wish to exploit and damage the region, redefinition will follow. *The Appalachian Restoration Project was created after several frustrating email conversations with a California filmmaker that continued to portray Appalachians in stereotypical ways in his work, and saw no problem with it.
-T. Byron Kelly
quiet faces by
A cold remnant
vault of Heaven
& long now into
of roses may
as a forgotten