Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Hurdy Gurdy

For the past day or so I have been reading through a new collection of poems by William Kloefkorn and David Lee.  This is their fourth book of poems together and it will be their last, as Bill passed away early last year.  I will be writing an official review of the book some time in the near future, but right now I am stuck on the simple elegance of Bill's poetry.  Each poem I read is a celebration of the basic elements from which we build a life, which he built a life.  I look at the poems after I read them and I am startled at how fast they go, how quickly they creep into me and how subversive they are.  I cannot get past the overall conceit---that even a simple, quiet life can be recorded with such impact.

It's the hurdy gurdy.  When someone explains what a hurdy gurdy is, an instrument played by cranking, there is a deception.  Pull back the workings of the instrument and there are dozens of things going on at once, and none of them are what is expected.  Bill hardly needed an event to write a poem because he made the poem the event.  And still that isn't enough.  Bill did not go into the darkness of the void without a road map.  Every poem, every line, and indeed every word, as so many have said before me, is part of a precise image Bill brought into being.  Poetry is art, and art is imitation, but Bill's poems have an astounding clarity.  Bill is quite simply, the hurdy gurdy man.

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