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Why I Read Tom Clark's Vlog by Charlie Vermont PDF E-mail
nota bene: we like Tom Clark's blog too, eds.  


Why I Read Tom Clark's Blog

The advent of the internet gave everyone the advantage of finding old friends

and was then a natural bibliography for someone who had

not paid attention to the poetry world for a long time.


My favorite book of Tom's is The World of Damon Runyon. I had read,

prior to that, his biographys of Olson, Creeley, and Dorn, poets whose

books I had intensely read during my time as a poet. I had lived next

door to Creeley for several years in Placitas and had met Dorn at the

height of his power,The Gunslinger, years. Olson was a particular

idol of everyone particularly Ken Irby who was a friend in California.

I suspect Allegory of Poet(Olson) is the definitive scholarly work

and the others vivid first person accounts.


To me Damon Runyon was spectacular because it was so outside

the Bolinas/Berkeley/San Francisco poetry milieu of the 70's and

far from the political domains of say Ginsberg and Snyder all reading

against the war in Vietnam with Robert Bly reading The Teeth Mother

Naked at Last and alas Bly lost it with Iron John. Runyon covers the

territory of the first 50 years of America sport and celebrity with

life portraits of American icons:Jack Dempsey, Arnold Rothstein,

Guys and Dolls, Joe and Hollywood. A remarkable

scholarly book from Colorado to Montana to New York...with Eddie

Rickenbacker...WWI flying Ace and chairman of Eastern Airlines

scattering Runyon's ashes over Central Park at the end. The popular culture of the

1950's was heavily populated with derivatives of or directly from

Runyon...looking back so to speak.


The second book that truly hooked me was his The Exile of Celine. The sixties'

ethos having fell apart and the fact that I moved to a part of the country that

was more traditional and back in time and pre internet to a sense of exile and

I had read Celine's North and Castle to Castle in part in a continuing quest to

comprehend the fascist impulse that had led to the Holocaust and WWII. Unfortunately

fascism is a very human impulse. Clark's book is true artistry in that the

vermisimilitude in creating the environment of chaos as war reigns and a hunted

individual flees. Again considering Bolinas and Berkley of the time it was

an incredible feat of creative imagination.


So the poetry too...Light and Shade....the Blaze Vox...steady stream.

Erudition and universal poetry just a click away everyday.



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