Monday, 29 of August of 2016

Mark Halliday – Green Canoe

Mark Halliday was born in 1949 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is an American poet, professor and critic who has produced 5 books of poetry. In 1994 he was poet in residence at The Frost Place and has since been included in many poetry anthologies.

As a vagabond of academia he’s taught literature and writing at Wellesley, University of Pennsylvania, Ohio University, Western Michigan University, Indiana University and Phoenix University. As a poet Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara, Allen Grossman and Frank Bidart are his influences.

Poet David Graham say he is “one of the ablest practitioners of the ultra-talk poem,” a term invented by Halliday himself. As part of this style he includes contemporary American poets like Albert Goldbarth, David Kirby, David Clewell, and Barbara Hamby.

 

If I were sitting in a green canoe on a hot morning
having drifted gently into an odorous swamp, alone
with the speckled gross density of yellow-green slime
all around me and the sun on my head
I might then say
“It’s not about books”
aloud to the plants and the muck and a swimming frog
“It’s not about books”
with the sun on my head and shoulders and the world
odorous and its oeuvre oozing and green
and my saying so then might be very beautiful –

but no one would hear it –
no one would keep it –
my voice washing instantly into lost molecules in the
warm air over the swamp –
I could speak again “It’s finally not
about books” but still no one hearing it
and less beautiful now,

my hand tightening cautiously on the paddle

 


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