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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Joseph Ceravolo: May


File:Nature reserve Góra Pieszczana 03.jpg

.....I am lost.
I had swum before.
There is no deformation fatigue
Residual under salt water
Morning oh May flower! oh
May exist. Built.
When will water stop
cooling? Built, falling. Reeds. I am surprised.
Weakness. Torsion.
The wind, white.
Sapphire, oxidation. Million.. .. . . . . . .

Joseph Ceravolo: from Spring in This World of Poor Mutts, 1968

Gora Piezczana Nature Reserve, Poland: photo by Yarl, 2009


Curtis Roberts said...

I'm at a loss for words. This is amazing and I feel sort of pushed back in my chair by "May".

Curtis Faville said...

I'm not sure anyone has ever explained how Ceravolo's poems work.

Most people's poems begin in confusion or mystery--if they are not strategically set up before-hand--and develop into some kind of resolution.

But Ceravolo's poems frequently begin in dazzlement, proceed through tentative, wildly ambiguous jags, and end in awe. As if the point were to arrive at a state of originality with respect to the direct apprehension of raw data, a condition in which we are naked before nature (or god). A state of grace or innocence. Was Ceravolo Catholic? I sometimes have the feeling he's shooting for a transcendent condition--though it seems essentially secular.

Only one other writer seems even remotely like Ceravolo in style or manner: Kenneth Koch. But of course Koch doesn't have Ceravolo's degree of abstraction and parataxis.

TC said...

Joe Ceravolo, an original, one of a kind. As time goes by and the mists gather over most everything, Ceravolo's work stands out more and more clearly, lucid, miraculous.

Joe was a sweet and rather private fellow, modest family guy who worked for an oil company in Jersey. Williams, who was the regional genius, was a hero to Joe. I remember Ron Padgett and Ted Berrigan recounting their one visit to Dr. Williams, in company with local boy Joe. Ted wonderfully published Joe in mimeo (Fits of Dawn, "C" Press, which I reviewed in Poetry ), and for that matter so did I (in my "Once" series from England). Joe also gave me great work for The Paris Review. E.g., Ho Ho Ho Caribou .

Lally said...

Yeah, I've always loved Ceravolo. my copy of SRPING IN THIS WORLD OF POOR MUTTS (I first wrote SPRING IN THIS POOR WORLD OF MUTTS which must be my Jersey boy title) is well worn. He's a touchstone for me partly because of the Jersey connection but also the humility I see in his work which has always been a goal I've reached for and fell far short of. But him and WCW and Stephen Crane's poetry (another Jersey boy who few know wrote great poems) have always inspired me and continue to. Thanks for spotlighting him here and on Vanitas Tom.

TC said...

Thanks Michael, good to be reminded there have been poets in and from Jersey even before there were Sopranos.

Anonymous said...

love this!