Tuesday, October 16, 7pm
Poets & Prophets Present Jim Cory
Born 1953 in Oklahoma, grew up in NYC suburb (of Connecticut) and a few years in the Midwest. My father sold carpet and made a science of non-communication. Seven brothers and sisters, most of them difficult. Learned about modernist poetry and how to read same when a house painter came down off his ladder one afternoon and explicated a Wallace Stevens poem in the anthology I was reading, circa age 14. Studied European history at Penn State. Wrote poetry beginning late teens. Active in radical politics. The most interesting person I’ve met was a threadbare and anonymous gentleman who one afternoon in the late 80s appeared to give me an impromptu, room-by-room tour of the Art Institute of Chicago, then the architectural treasures of the Loop, full of ingenious explanations and insights, before vanishing around a corner. I believe this was Louis Sullivan’s ghost. Recently I stopped watching television.
To the extent that I think about such things it would be: a return to the democratic idiom of WCW, that is, to an exploration of the infinite richness of American English when it’s used to say what must be said in a way that commands attention, summons the spirit, engages the mind. I agree with the late Jonathan Williams who argued that the purpose of poetry was to “elate the elite.” The elite, to me, being anyone who offers his/her respectful attention. I also concur with the late James Broughton who said: “Either you’re a songbird or you’re not.” P.S. It’s raining.