Philosophy and Blood

Al Moritz reminded me today why I love words, and why poetry is actually a beautiful art form that can be followed without any really specialized knowledge. He takes himself seriously as a poet, which is good, he actually feels responsibility towards his work past his lifetime.

As he was talking, I wrote down and scribbled what jumped at me:

“Wordsworth’s hills, I’d like to be able to go to them someday.” (When asked about his relationship with other poets, he said that he was “a prickly loner kind of kid” whose mentors were Tennyson and Wordsworth – hello, ultratraditional Anglo-Saxon poetry!)

He seems to have a taste for South American literature – made references to Garcia and Bolano – work that says “I have lived.”

“Desire is a source of knowledge, not only of satisfaction.”

“There is no difference between philosophy and blood.”

Believes that poetry can bear witness to the ones who left no record, and whose pasts can only be imagined. (social responsibility – “profound poetry of the poor and the dead”)

Read a poem about home and memory called PLACE (“A place beongs to the one who has most deeply loved it…”) – juxtaposition of self and geography – our inner geography carries our childhood homes – we always travel back to them, mentally.

Thinks of Canada as a place where something like city-states can exist (was born in US) “I think of Toronto as my city-state, I guard her honour jealously.”

Uses the jargon of a different generation: “doodads”, “Yes, miss?”, “napsack”.

First five pages of his new book photocopied and given to CW students.

Don’t know why he’s described as “magisterial” – very friendly, thoughtful man – and excellent poet.

One of his early poems (trying to imagine a ‘prickly’ Moritz):

I wish we could control this revolting
want of control: these people
with their spongy eyes, their mouths
of trembling shoehorns, billhooks for penises
and bear traps for vulvas.

Hilarious. And a bit from “Place”, in his newest book, Sentinel:

A place belongs to the one who has most deeply
loved it, they said, has hoped in it beyond
its self corruption. The land, people, the city

is his if his nights are for recalling it,
calling it in tears of aloneness and amazes
thanksgiving: that luck let him kiss it in his childhood

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