Larry Eigner's selected prose. Edited by Barrett Watten. With an introduction by Douglas Woolf.
Critically palsied as a result of forceps delivery at birth, Larry Eigner has spent most of his life in bed or in a wheelchair. Until 1978 he lived with his family in Massachusetts, but then moved to Berkeley, California, where he was cared for by the poet Robert Grenier. The example of William Carlos Williams can be felt in Eigner's attention to detail and precision of observation. His work characteristically derives from sights and sounds in the vicinity of his home--clouds, birds, crickets, cars, rain--but words in the poems are arranged in visual patterns of great elegance and complexity, much as in the work of one of his principal masters, Charles Olson. Eigner does not merely duplicate Olson's projectivist manner, however. In Ron Silliman's introduction to his anthology of Language Poetry, IN THE AMERICAN TREE--dedicated to Eigner--he identifies this poet as one who has `transcended the problematic constraints' of Olson's speech-based projectivist poetics. Eigner has himself pointed out that his poetry originates in "thinking" rather than speech. Eigner's Selected Poems was published in 1972, his selected prose, COUNTRY/HARBOR/QUIET/ACT/AROUND, in 1978. Among many subsequent poetry collections are Things Stirring Together or Far Away, READINESS/ENOUGH/DEPENDS/ON, and Waters, Places, a Time. His critical writings were edited by Benjamin Friedlander in AREAS LIGHTS HEIGHTS: WRITINGS 1954-1989. An earlier selection is Quiet Harbor Quiet Act Around. Some of his letters were gathered by Robert Kocik and Joseph Simas in Larry Eigner Letters. Author City: BERKELEY, CA USA