The realm of goodness: Maureen Owen

Meanwhile I’m reading the good books too, and the great. Maureen Owen’s Amelia Earheart! ZOMG! I would put it together with airplane and feminism poems that i know and have translated, in a big anthology. Here is some mad poet speak for the middle of the night for you all.

I get so mad at Maureen Owen.

The other day I was at hazelbroom’s house while she was giving Zond-7 a massage and in between sitting at the sunny kitchen table with city backyard noises outside and her partner’s paintings half finished through the doorway into the laundry room, I must have gone to pee about 6 times from all the coffee and chai and water and massage. And in the bathroom was one of my favorite poetry books, Living in the Open, and I thought about how many years it took me from high school onward… I read it in maybe 1986? 87? to get beyond writing under that shadow though often it was only a few lines or a feeling of stolidity and stompy earnestness and jangledy language-loving. I do still take many lines to heart, like “living open to love in the leafy flesh”. Who couldn’t like that! No matter if it and other great things are embedded in peanut butter and middle class hippie crystal garden mystique.

I only found Owen’s poetry last year and had the deafening realization that I was writing in Owen’s shadow and didn’t know it. And I don’t mind, really… While I minded horribly about not being able to get out from the echo of Piercy, which fascinated and yet often repulsed me — unnatural to all that is rambling & inchoate. It is like the moments of greatness that Judy Grahn gets to. I love them so. I love them fiercely! But then I’m like NO FUCK NO don’t take that wrong turn! Get outta proseville! Get your head out of your ass! The finality of my final lines were what people liked in their piercyishness and yet they were FALSE and I knew it. I know about 1993 I was working like mad to get out of that precious little box, but I got out.

Anyway, all hail the lovely lines of AE and the grandness, the rambling, her words float over the page and mind, the total unfalseness, fucking FREEDOM, and the deep engagement in imaginary spaces. Nothing namby pamby humdrum coffee table in THAT noise. No little wrapup hmmMMMmmm moment neatening that package with a tightass doubleknot of meaning nailed home to obviousoland. I wish I knew where she was.

I meant to say I get so mad at her for being so fucking awesome of a writer.

At best Wanda Coleman gets there but not the rambling – more with a laser-dense tapestry of confusion and noise. Diane Wakoski is awfully good but does not float free. I read her and go with it, and then want to pull out a bigass sword and cut her chains. I love poetry best that unanchors me, unanchors language. & most of all doesn’t do what i expect it to and must hover on the edge of sense and jump like bounding on other planets, like low gravity.

Maureen is the best when she’s at her best. I get high on that stuff.

Plus just hearing her on a recording going STAND UP! in a young-ish voice is another kind of high.

Poets that good fill me with hope and relief.

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