Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Milton Acorn and Modernism (essay)

Hi James,
Thanks for your gift copy of THE DALHOUSIE REVIEW* and the accompanying letter. This is a quick response, as I want to let you know the package arrived today no problemo (not always the case now with Canada Post), & I sense some urgency in your request for feedback, as LIVING IN A DARK AGE: MILTON ACORN & MODERNISM, is the first of a planned series of essays by you on Milt - and eventually will be a book (congrats!).

Your essay reads well & smoothly, and thank God it's not overly academic or formalistic  ;  ) Sadly, I lack the academic knowledge (and interest) to offer a helpful critique of the overall academic aspect of your essay. Fortunately several of the symposiums we held at PurdyFests helped greatly in filling in my knowledge of the development of modernist poetry in Canada, along with many long conversations with our mutual buddy, Terry Barker. I'm thinking esp. of the PurdyFest Symposiums on Milt & Ray Souster, & it was Terry who insisted that I bone up on Souster. It was esp. serendipitous that our PurdyFest Symposium on Souster evolved into our tribute to him at the Runnymede Public Library before his death (even tho he didn't attend due to his notorious shyness). So although I can't claim any legit credentials  to verify or dispute the historical aspects of your essay, everything I read is in sync with the little I have learned thanks to the PurdyFest symposiums and Terry's conversations (well, lectures  ; ).

I may be able to offer more informed comments on your forthcoming essay on Milt's role in People's Poetry, and the concluding (?) essay on Milt's politics. Also it will be very interesting & fun to finally read Terry's new book from Synaxis on these themes, which we're expecting at the end of the month.

Without Milt's influence, I don't know that I would have returned to writing poetry, or at least writing poems longer than haiku (altho I eventually did evolve from stand-alone haiku to writing haibun, among the first English language haijin to do so).

What stands out for me more than Milt's politiks, or his mastery of form, was his passion. This, to me, is the most significant factor with Milt & his poetry - the passionate NO BULLSHIT aspect. Purdy has this as well, maybe learned from Milt, but Purdy lacks the flame, the intensity, of Milt's best. On the other hand, late at night, I'm sometimes inclined to pick a volume of Big Al's over one of Milt's - that time of night my own brain requires tempering!

Again, congrats on having this essay published in one of Canada's leading litmags. You have continuously spearheaded the literary resurrection of our old friend & comrade for many decades, and obviously you will continue to do so. Milt's spirit, in heaven/hell or somewhere in between, is smiling a lopsided grin of gratitude.

peace & poetry power!
Chris ... & Chase Wrffffffffffffffffffff! (alive, but hobbling badly at age 18 - but still game to hike thru these winter snowstorms)

*The Dalhousie Review, Summer 2014, 94.2, pages 291 - 299

                         ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On 2015-02-04, at 4:42 PM, James Deahl wrote:

February 4, 2015

         Thanks, Chris. Every bit helps defend and keep Milt’s legacy alive. As Milt himself noted, the academic critics are always on the attack when it comes to People’s Poetry and People’s Poets. (Same happens in the U.S. with their Populist Poets.)


         . . . James

p.s.  Give Chase a pat for me!

                                         . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 4:14 PM, Chris Faiers <> wrote:

I decided to post this on Riffs & Ripps. After all, one of the aims of R&R is to promote Milt & People's Poetry     ... this may even help gain some readership for TDR ;  )


                               ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 


No comments: