Made In The Shade Volume 4 Number One (posted November 1, 2022)
Made In The Shade Volume 4 Number Two (posted December 1, 2022)
Made In The Shade Volume 4 Number Three (posted January 1, 2023)
Preface & Afterword
For the tightrope walker, the last few feet are what count. It matters not that you kept your balance for the length of the rope if you falter at the end. So it is with a certain apprehension that I approach the completion of my endeavor. It had been exhilarating for the most part . The thrill of discovery and the joy of creating were renewed (re-known) for me. There is no way that I could have predicted the richness and complexity that resulted. There is also no denying that an organic, self-organizing principle played a part in shaping the outcome.
As a poet I have to be like a physicist and realize that I am representing a universe at least as large as the one in the physical realm. The notebook journals that accompany the poems are notations on a literary universe whose big bang was the utterance of the first word. They are a context within which to consider literature, attempts at literature, the history of literature, and the life of literature as embodied by the author. What I do is obvious. Everyone uses language every day. I deal with the mysteries of the self-evident. If consciousness is a stream perhaps its course should be tracked not in sentences but in equations of states of being.
The interview (or dialogue) is a mobius strip of sorts, shifting from first person to second person and back. Though the tone is set by my own concerns, a chorus of other voices enables it to speak with a certain authority. The bon mots and mots justes of such luminaries as George Steiner and Roland Barthes, Philip Whalen and Robert Creeley, John Updike and Tom Clark, Marcel Duchamp and Robert Graves (among others) give voice to an interior dialogue that is serious as it is comic, random as it is predictable.
The letters furnish a link to an audience long since addressed, and, in epistolary context, recognize an existence not solely on the page. Like the narratives, they offer an anecdotal aspect, albeit entirely subjective, as well as an informality and intimacy. In at least two instances they bridge time to update the consequences of living and dying. For their part the narratives remark on those fabled days when the convergence of inspiration and wild abandon contributed to a sense of camaraderie and shared destiny not since duplicated.
The footnotes to the texts and poems are primarily there as diversions and asides, and like radishes, should be taken with grains of salt. I did want to include a sense, my own personal sense, of the antiquity of this art form now known and practiced as poetry. The rambling, arbitrary ruminations on Orpheus are to that purpose. My sources were many, varied, and not necessarily catholic. In fact, much of the environment for the poems in Made In The Shade comes from my erratic and indiscriminate reading habits. The rain prose, like the rain itself, enforces an insidious presence.
However, behind the smoke screen of prose, self-parody, pretention, and pomposity, Made In The Shade is all about the poems. They chart a year of creative activity, the ups and downs, the peaks and dips. Some poems are fashioned from accidental fragments of a fractured existence. As shards of perception arranged on a page to effect a pointillist resonance, their meaning (as such) is what you can walk away with. After all, isn’t syntax, the key to meaning, a constituent element of the human spirit? Still other poems are the work of a single breath, exhaled from a place dark and mysterious that reaches back into a primal realm of original impulse, a blurt from the sniggering void.
As I pester the last details to this final installment of Made In The Shade, I must admit to being under the sway of the Roussel Syndrome with all its personal elation and self-satisfaction. News of my accomplishment has spread like a bad cold in a nursery school. The roar of the clamoring crowds is deafening to my ears. I dare not open the curtain lest I find a mob of humanity gathered below my window in anticipation of my literary triumph!
Cover and design by Suzanne Lang.