Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gennady Aygi 1934-2006

I missed the Gennady Aygi reading at SFSU, a year before he died. I have since read his poetry with a deep sense of respect for his spirit, original way of seeing the world, and fresh approach to poetics. Strange to realize that Aygi was born in the same year as Ted Berrigan, Diane DiPrima, and Amiri Baraka. Here is one of his statements about poetry:

Poetry has no ebb and flow. It is, it abides. Even if you take away its “social” efficacy, you cannot take away its living, human fullness, profundity, autonomy. After all, it can visibly penetrate also into these spheres where sleep is so active. To “dare” to dwell in sleep, to draw nourishment from it, such, if you like, is the unhurried confidence of poetry in itself—it does not need to be “shown the way,” to be “authorized,” to be controlled (so too, correspondingly, the reader).

Does poetry lose something in such circumstances, or does it gain? Let me leave this as an unanswered question. The main thing is that it survives. Drive it out of the door, it comes back through the window.


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