Wednesday, June 06, 2007

David Stone, Bridge Poems

David Stone’s new collection Bridge Poems has been published by Six Gallery Press, and is very much worth getting. I can’t really review it, because I’ve already written the preface for it. So instead I’ll give you that (and an excerpt from Stone himself, below).


David Stone is unique among poets. Parallels could be drawn, influences named — Baudelaire springs to mind, and perhaps I could say something tricky like, “Stone is an American Baudelaire, transposed from 19th century Paris to 21st century Baltimore.” But then I may just as well say he’s “a postmodern Poe,” or “a modern-day Surrealist.” None of it is sufficient. I will say that Stone draws from many traditions, poetic and otherwise, whether he resembles them or not. The French are important, but so are the pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the history of jazz, Paul Celan, Osip Mandelstam, Hart Crane, etc. To whatever degree Stone may be “influenced” by this poet or that text, he is worthy of nearly any of them and The Bridge Poems is the proof. For my money (since we live in capitalist societies), Stone is a major American poet and he will surely be recognized as such in time.

Given the title of this book, Crane will loom large. Crane, who, as Stone writes here, “attained water,” and of whom Waldo Frank wrote in the 1933 edition of The Collected Poems, “His vision was the timeless One of all the seers, and it binds him to the great tradition; but because of the time that fleshed him and that he needed, to substance his vision, he could not employ traditional concretions.” And so it is for Stone. His seeming obscurity is not an affectation or a conscious wish to appear “avant-garde.” His highly-pitched language is the struggle to articulate the incomprehensible and the unacceptable. Stone’s work often reads crazily because the world certainly is crazy, and America especially. America is like souls in the underworld. And ghosts speak through poetry.

Michael S. Begnal

Here is a poem from the collection which is perhaps representative:

Jazz Biers

The Dead


in Flanders Field

& grope


& conehats.

The Jackal



of treasure



in deep

sea vents.

—David Stone


Anonymous said...

High praise to be linked with CB. Bloom's Anxiety of Influence expresses in Freudian terms the ability of a great poet to shed forerunners. I don't agree such an exorcism is necessary , as long as the influences are a possitive force on one's writing. The ghost in you she don't fade ! And as Shane sings: I want to be haunted by the ghost. Yes , Mid-Eternity has been posted. Entelechy MacSheoinin...

Alan Jude Moore. said...

Like that poem. Gonna keep an eye out for Mr. Stone over here in Dubh Linn.