Thursday, February 09, 2006
There is something about Gillfillan's vocabulary. In the poetry, there is alot of trekking through areas that are either uninhabited or inhabited scantily. He seems to know the name of each plant, animal and especially bird that he encounters. Place is what sings however. There is a remarkable combining of the word-generator aspect one founds in someone like Clark Coolidge or Michael Gizzi, and the plain musical tautness of Lorine Niedecker. I don't know what alot of the words mean, but that's hardly to say those words themselves are used to some effect of exoticizing the poem. Gillfillan puts each one where it belongs, for the sake of accurate description, and facilitating the overall measure of it. Balance and spontenaiety at the same time. By all means one should know what the words in a poem mean. But I can't help but think that in Merrill Gilfillan's poetry, that's beside the point. The poems have a variousness that seems to me to rival only Pound or Frank O'Hara.