A Faithful Account of Where I Live: The Letters of Cid Corman and William Bronk

6 April 71

Dear Cid,

Well, all sorts of things: first, that you are back in Japan seems good. New York removes you somehow and you are closer there. And Shizumi [Corman's wife], I'm sure, must be pleased and I am glad of that.

Surely, I've no quarrel with your letter; we are essentially in agreement. I thought of both Olson and [William Carlos] Williams, so far as I thought of them at all, and they were never people I needed to reckon with, as speakers rather as listeners so that what they said hadn't much authority. You say Williams felt more toward the end of his life. When we listen we feel. I liked his stories and plays which were full of feeling, and not his poetry which I missed entirely. Olson was a nice man whom I liked and respected as a man. What he wrote about poetry or what poetry he wrote was as though it may have been untranslated Swahili for all I knew. It may have been good or bad.

You say Williams doesn't ask why life must become actual. Well if he wanted life to be actual I think I know what he means. So much of our experience is remote and inanimate. We want to touch and handle and give and take. We take pleasure from it. If that's what he meant I mean that, too. And for me, too, that is an exaltation of art but for me, it is not in the object itself as it may have been-or as he may have said it was (did he? I don't know) for him.

Geo[rge] Oppen who hated the first Copan essay-as he may have hated the other two if he saw them-said that he nevertheless liked a sentence toward the end which said of our attempts to realize our experience that it is by our most drastic failures that we may perhaps catch glimpses of something real. He thought (I guess) that this justified our attempts at factualizing, particularizing, objectifying our experience. Well, he may be right. But we can't deliberately do that if we know what will happen. We have to believe otherwise. We can't, as has been suggested in another context, deliberately sin in order to allow the justification of grace.

And I agree, of course, with you that we can't pursue kicks for the sake of kicks, on the premise that a kick accompanies some other pursuit and therefore it was the kick we were after. Neither do I know what we are after-if anything. The poem on the other side anticipates this exchange. ["Ergo non sum Est."]

Happy rain there. Here, there is still snow and cold though a few bare patches-even a crocus once in awhile.

My love


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