Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Deer Season, Again

In an unmown yard of dry grass, I miss
the deer themselves, but instead find tamped
outline of their bodies and inhale their faint
aroma. I see that secret bower where they press
together all night and breathe. Moonlight speckles
their hides. By sunrise, like stars, they disappear.
But since they are shamans, their spirits remain:
Bent straw delineates glyphs—epic stories
as they step backwards into my memory.

Denise Low
Solstice 2007
Also, see other holiday verse in the Dec. 22 Kansas City Star, with illustration by Gentry Mullen:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

John A. Moritz services

Lawrence Journal World
Memorial visitation services for John A. Moritz III, 61, Lawrence, will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home. Cremation is planned.Mr. Moritz died Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007, at his home.He was born Sept. 23, 1946, in Gary, Ind., the son of John A. II and Hallie L. Zapp Moritz. He graduated from high school in Chicago in 1964 and later attended Kansas University.Mr. Moritz was a printer and publisher, and founded Tansy Bookstore on the KU campus. He later worked for Kansas Key Press and House of Usher. He worked for Kingston Printing at the time of his death. He was also an accomplished poet and had published many books, the most recent of which was “Mayaland/Catfish Frenzy.”He married Margaret Capolello. They divorced. He married Helen Kelly. They divorced. He married Sharon G. Hoffman on July 16, 1992, in Sitka, Alaska. She survives, of the home.Other survivors include three stepsons, Curtis and Kevin Dillon, both of Lawrence, and Christopher Knief, Madison, Wis.; a stepdaughter, DeeDee Leon, Lawrence; a brother, David Moritz, Gainesville, Fla.; and six grandchildren.The family suggests memorials to Lawrence Memorial Hospital Oncology or Radiation Department, sent in care of the funeral home.Online condolences may be sent at http://www.rumsey-yost.com/.

Monday, December 17, 2007

John Moritz 1946-2007

Services are pending for John Moritz--poet, editor, publisher, reading series sponsor. Former editor of Tansy Press, Moritz was himself a fine poet with tuned ear and eye. He sponsored a reading series in the 1980s that brought Tom Raworth, Joanne Kyger, Robin Blaeser, and others to Lawrence. For each reading he published a broadside. His Tansy in the 1970s brought important texts into the world, including works of Ken Irby. He entered into the world of text as a practitioner, admirer, midwife, responder.

He was smart and funny. I remember him and wife Sharon consoling me after a divorce. I remember great meals and parties at his house. He leaves me much to think about.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Dear Friends of Poetry:
If you live in the Lawrence area, you can hear Ken Irby read at 7 pm tonight, Dec. 14, at 6 Gallery, 716 1/2 Mass. St. He has been an inspiration to me for decades and a dear friend. He urges us to look more closely at how we perceive and remember experience, both individually and collectively. He is an archeaologist of words. His recent book Studies is available from First Intensity Press, edited by Lee Chapman http://www.firstintensity.com/

Happy holidays, Denise Low


Photo by Denise Low, 1997

Kenneth Lee Irby (1936 - )

Ken Irby is a Kansas poet who practices projective verse, a form based on physical acts of speechmaking rather than British poetics. Charles Olson of Black Mountain College (1930s-1950s) taught that a line should be the length of a breath. In poetry like Irby’s, the words match human consciousness rather than creating a facsimile of reality. This “open field” style may suggest prose of William Faulkner or James Joyce more than Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Irby was not a student at Black Mountain, but he has had contacts with Black Mountain poets throughout his career. This direction in American writing connects to experimental forms now loosely called “Language” poetry.
Ed Dorn, a former visiting professor at the University of Kansas, was a student of Olson and close friend of Irby. In this elegy, written at Dorn’s death, Irby displaces his emotional grief with an image of farm animals in a bare pasture. The title’s season is near solstice, the darkest, most mysterious time of year, and also a time when losses are most sharply seen.
This poem begins with the animals viewed at a distance, as though they are almost beyond sight. The narrator sees them skewed by the distance—and also perhaps by grief—so that they appear to be performing on hind legs, “a real dog and pony show.” Irby sets this familiar term amongst the more bizarre appearances of the domestic animals. Just when it seems he might explain himself and the soundless “musicians at the window,” he changes direction. He shifts from visual images to sounds—the rhyme between “cray” and “they.” The second section also shifts from animals to plants: “hedge apples” (or osage oranges) at pasture boundary and “night winter cray bushes.” Rather than resolve the poem with a resounding click, he opens it up to new questions.

[For Ed Dorn –2 Apr 1929 – 10 Dec 1999]

in the far back pasture animals have lined up in lament
dog goat pony horse and beyond them
a cow in its astronomical agility
a real dog and pony show
giving tribute back on their hind legs
musicians at the window
lacking the cock his call
the show of the world

along the fence rows in with the hedge apples
the night winter cray bushes are in bloom.
the cray? what are they?
that is their rhyme

Education: Kenneth Irby, born in Bowie, Texas, was raised in Ft. Scott, Kansas. He received an A.M. from Harvard University and M.L.S. from the University of California-Berkeley.
Career: Irby is an English professor at the University of Kansas. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Copenhagen. He has awards from the Fund for Poetry and the Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative American Poetry. His books include: Studies (First Intensity Press 2001), Ridge to Ridge (Other Wind Press 2001), Call Steps (Station Hill Press 1992), A Set (Tansy 1983), Orexis (Station Hill Press 1981), Catalpa (Tansy 1972), To Max Douglas (Tansy 1971).
© 2007 Denise Low, AAPP9. © Kenneth Irby “[For Ed Dorn]” from Studies: Cuts, Shots Takes, 2001. © 2007 Denise Low photo. A downloadable version is available from http://www.kansaspoets.com/

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Virtual Trip to Nigeria Over

Thanks to all who emailed and expressed sympathy for my hijacked email account. All is set aright. Denise Low