Sunday, May 30, 2010


As the rather Shylockian character of Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby refers to the University..........

Ed Dorn in his long poem titled "Oxford" from his early book The North Atlantic Turbine (Fulcrum, 1967), writes in part V:

..........But I said everything ?
has been talked about
around Oxford. I was assured
it had been. I didn't say while walking
but I thought well then make up!
something! Because baby if you don't
they's gonna take all your wine away
they's gonna turn you into a state
institootion and you'll all be working
for the state just like in America
and you'll have to prove
you're useful, the most useless
sort of proof you'll ever have to make
you'd better at least start digging up
some hills
to talk about. Get laid, describe that.
the world seems endlessly interested.

The election for the Oxford Professorship of Poetry is being held now. Although Geoffrey Hill appears to be the front-runner, those eligible to vote could surprise the establishment by choosing a long-shot who is in the running, Britain's foremost Beat/post-Beat poet, Michael Horovitz.

Horovitz is the only poet except for Allen Ginsberg to have read at both the 1965 Royal Albert Hall reading, and the follow-up thirty years later in 1995. Still an active poet, performer, independent publisher, poetry entrepreneur, organizer and troubadour, his 1969 Penguin anthology, Poetry of the 'Underground' in Britain, remains one of the best collections of the alternative and innovative.

His own work continues to demonstrate a Blakean seriousness of purpose tempered with a kind intelligence and wit. Here is a brief excerpt from his elegy, published in Wordsounds And Sightlines (New Departures, 1994), for his wife, Frances, herself a fine and sensitive poet:

Night after night your muse's breath
in the trees and scrubs comes calling,
tugs me away from habit and routine
- owl cries swoop in on reveries
calling back a secret music,
the unfinished symphony
of your life and work
- how it steals upon the senses
stately, flowing, clear - the sabbath of
your poetry's leaves