Richard Silberg


Jack Foley and I have known each other for a scary long time, thirty or forty years, read together, eaten many a birthday meal together, and during that time we’ve disagreed about countless things, how good is this or that poet, the interpretation of Shakespeare, of Wittgenstein, the nature of authorship and the self (Jack is actually quite wrong on all these subjects)–but I’ve never doubted his brilliance, or his deep erudition, or the sparkle of his wit. He’s been a fine poet, especially in what I take to be his core mode, working with chosen passages of language as a sculptor in sound, almost a musical conductor. He and Adelle have done many, many electric, stirring performances of these poems, in a stereo mode of delivery that’s an allied Foley creation, spoken duets that move in and out of phase from jumble, to highlighting one voice or the other, to unison–a performance mode that has to be heard to be ‘dug.’ As a contributing editor to Poetry Flash, Jack has written many essays over the years that are among our finest. He’s been an almost psychic interviewer in his KPFA slot on Cover to Cover, seeming often to know the poetry better than its author, bringing each out, helping them to get across. And in Visions and Affiliations he’s produced a masterwork, an astonishing distillation of his many talents, that’s gorgeous and unique. Here’s to the one and only Foley, long may he shine.

          —Richard Silberg