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Friday, September 10, 2010

Poet Kenneth White's collected poems, "Open World"


                                        "... the surface of things
                                          can give enjoyment or disgust
                                       but the inwardness of things
                                                  gives life."
                                                           

Those four lines from his long poem "Walking the Coast" (Open World, XII, page 138) about says it all, especially when the "inwardness of things" is deeply embedded in the world, its life, its oceans, its ancient history and its deep inner- and interconnections and connectivity. For Kenneth White, founder of what is called "Geopoetics", "geo" meaning "the earth", poetry is a way of telling story about the earth and its people, about everyday life in relation to the earth and to earthiness.
"Le Nouvel Obsrvateur", Paris, says Kenneth White "is bound to appear as the foremost English-language poet of these times.", I agree. Every time I pick up the book and begin reading, I discover something new, or something old that strikes me in a new way and a deeper level.

I first ran across Kenneth White and his poetry in books by J. Philip Newell, looked everywhere for his books (some of them listed at very high prices), then found "Open World" on amazon.com and bought it. To my delight, it contained the very books I had been looking for!

Open World comprises his collected poetry from 1960 to 2000. Each time I pick it up and open it, I find new things that I'd had missed in a previous reading, like finding gold where you had looked before and there, on a second or third or fourth digging, there it is, right before your eye.

Born in Glasgow in 1936 and raised in western Scotland, Kenneth White is also an essayist, travel writer and held the chair of 20th Century Poetics at the Sorbonne from 1983-1996.

If you haven't heard of Kenneth White, buy this book and read it; it's become one of the most important books in my library. He's one of the poets I recommend to everyone.

1 comment:

Stella Evelyne Tesha said...

I like the review George. I must find the book! Stella E.Tesha