Poetry. Things happen fast and abundantly as perceived in the present tense. Not that the present isn't "selected" as much as the past is, but being less a function of memory and more of attention to the sights and sounds and textual material before the writer, any truly responsible present tense seems less constructed than received; it is both littered with specificity and cumulatively abstract. Two constants in Ratcliffe's scanner, as this long poem in twelve sections hums by, among the legible many, are the sudden recognitions of music intimately heard in ear and mind, and the remarkable articulations of the sense-around sunstruck plenitude of natural phenomena that literally radiates outwards from his person, in all directions, a not always pleasant but inescapably full creation whose principle of order is always change. And then he asks: "why not learn to read the right way, monosyllabically," as if to slow himself, and us, down to the actual moments that yield sensory delight and knowledge of the world. To be precise, and yet as continuous as attention is particular, is to harness the "presentational immediacy" of this work's operative poetic muscle. As we read, we listen to the language speak, but we also hear it streak, fly, mope, glance, loaf, seduce, & dance. In these stanzaically subtle sections, Ratcliffe's performative pen scores a possible creation, one filled with all manner of unpredictable noticings, dislocations, mortal acknowledgments. "blink the vines cover the house"
Stephen Ratcliffe is the author of more than twenty books of poetry, including ROCKS (Cuneiform Press, 2020), MORE ROCKS (Cuneiform Press, 2020), SOUND OF WAVE IN CHANNEL (BlazeVOX Books, 2018), PAINTING (Chax Press, 2014), and SELECTED DAYS (Counterpath Press, 2012) which won The Poetry Center Book Award. He has also written three books of literary criticism, READING THE UNSEEN: (OFFSTAGE) HAMLET (Counterpath Press, 2010), LISTENING TO READING (SUNY Press, 2000), and Campion: On Song (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981). His ongoing series of six 1,000-page books, each written in 1,000 consecutive days, is available at Editions Eclipse and his daily poems-plus-photographs appear at Temporality. He has lived in Bolinas since 1973.Author City: BOLINAS, CA USA