Poet Will Alexander’s summer reads:
Black Mirror: The Selected Poems of Roger Gilbert-Lecomte, by Roger Gilbert-Lecomte, Trans. David Rattray (Station Hill Press, 1991)
I’ve been writing an extended biographical poem on Roger-Gilbert Lecomte, getting into his poetic realm related as it is to Tibetan poetics, a field of praxis which is not unlike the essays wrought by Rene Daumal in his book entitled Rasa. They reveal the savor of language as it wafts across eternity by means of “eastern” internal kinetics. As for Rosenblatt’s Daumal, it gives a revealing look at Lecomte, Daumal and the founding of Le Grand Jeu. A great view into that hatchery in the early 1930’s where the quintet of Lecomte, Daumal, Gurdjieff, Breton, and Guenon, tensely cross mixed and then went their separate ways.
What fascinated me about this book was not its Pulitzer Prize winning credentials, but its detailed power bringing consciousness to the reader concerning the founding of America not as an enterprise of Democracy, but as an enterprise in crime. The 100 million Africans lost in the midst of the Atlantic is seldom, if ever acknowledged. African labour being the seed of all its subsequent riches. Dr Davis provides detail after detail of stunning acres of brutality and connivance, one of which continues to fascinate; George Washington advanced $726,000 from American funds during the Haitian Revolution. The funds were specifically designated to whites in order for them to buy “arms, munitions, and supplies” to kill Blacks, in order to protect “vital American interests.” I think of the title of one of Henry Steele Commager’s books, Was America A Mistake? to be quite apt when presented in this context. In connection to this what I find disturbing in much contemporary poetic expression is it’s general blindness to the organic circumstance out of which America was created. Thus the poetry which concludes upon the “day to day,” or satisfies itself inside the inverse hearth of conceptual gymnastics, eschews voltage, being completely void of blood and feeling. In two words: neutered wrecks. To quote Artaud from his review of Lecomte “… when poetry does not to some degree embody Anarchy, when it lacks the scale of fire and incandescence and magnetic turbulence that mark a nascent cosmos, it isn’t poetry at all…”
Will Alexander is a poet, novelist, aphorist, essayist, playwright, and visual artist. He was the recipient of a Whiting Fellowship for Poetry in 2001 and a California Arts Council Fellowship in 2002. He is the author of several books, including, Kaleidoscopic Omniscience, Asia & Haiti, The Stratospheric Canticles, and Impulse & Nothingness.