Helen Breger and Jack Foley

Sketches Poetical
excerpts from a forthcoming book

by Poet Jack Foley and Sketch Artist Helen Breger
 

Foreword
 

foreward

audio

T.S. ELIOT

 

Possom denies multiplicity while

his poem affirms it

Il est vraiment le Prince d’aquitaine à la tour abolie—

the ruined tower of Western Culture

Who is that critic who hates collage? ’Tis I says TSE,

endarkening the light of his magnificent poem



tseliot

audio
 
   



E.E. CUMMINGS

 

Spring!—just and in-

A

(p

O

e)

t
 





eecummings

audio

   

MICHAEL McCLURE

 

THERE ARE CERTAIN WORDS

THAT ARE FOREVER

M

I

C

H

A

E

L

 

M

C

C

L

U

R

E

surge blackness meat SWIRL gesture kid

grahhr

behind the beauty of his person

“WRITHING MULTIDIMENSIONALITY OF THOUGHT”

 





 
 
michael Mcclure

audio
   


Robert Duncan
 

                                                 for a muse meant

Did you ever see him in his cape? He used to wear it all the time, showing up at readings with it. I  remember him swooping into a David Bromige reading with it. Suddenly the whole room was alive with his presence.



Robert Duncan
 
audio

 

                                               

"'The H.D. Book’ is as close to a grimoire as we are likely to get!"

Robert Symmes / Robert Duncan

Identity flows

as we bend our bows

to your Great Example.

Blind lifelines, you wrote in “The Homosexual in Society” and:
“Being cross-eyed, I have been subject all my life to one of the states of presentational immediacy. When I look at something, I see it double and I can never tell which one is the real one—the one which I see with my left eye or the one that I see with my right eye”

(“Gladly the cross-eyed bear”!—You can never tell which eye he’s looking at you with!)

Gnostic invader of the “Sky” / The Angel Syphilis / The Angel Cancer—

Hel shines in the very word Health     as Ill in the Divine Will shines  .

Not long after writing your last poem, “After a Long Illness,”

you came down the stairs at 3267 20th Street, San Francisco: “The Muse has deserted me,”

so Thom Gunn called you, with humor and cruelty, “a posthumous poet” .

We are all gathered under the folds of your tremendous resonant theatrical cape

(materpater)

Blind lifelines

and in that process a man’s sexuality is a natural factor in a biological economy larger and deeper than his own human will

We tread your wrist and would not go free

   


JAMES BROUGHTON

 

“Sin, indeed.”

 

 





 

 

James Broughton
 
audio

 

   

KAY BOYLE

 

“author of herself”

busted

at the Oakland Army Induction

Center, 1967

blacklisted 1950s

Paris

in the 20s (Black Sun Press, Harry & Caresse, good/mad life)

marriages     children

over 40 books:

14 novels 11 short fiction 3 children’s books translations essays

Carol Muske-Dukes: “You know, I like saying this whenever I can:

Kay Boyle

should be part of the canon,

along with her modernist brothers

 

 

Kay Boyle
 
audio
   


SHIRLEY KAUFMAN

 

Beautiful Shirley Kaufman (with upraised ciggie)

“in an age of translation”

translated herself to Israel

where her words commingle…

 

“death / lets the light in”:

 

Healing


 

Shirley Kaufman
 
audio

 

   

JOSEPHINE MILES

 

Jo

how seductive you were in yr classes

(women said you favored the men)

how witty—and you believed that the university

was a deliberate refuge from the world, a community of scholars

even when the politicians took the initiative to invade with their tear gas and helicopters.

(O the 1960s!)

The eccentric beauty of your verse (little read now)

the way your terrifyingly frail body was carried into the classroom

(and gently set down in the chair)

your odd, word-counting scholarship (now the computer’s domain)

the fact that you were the only person ever to call Robert Duncan “Bob”

and a postcard you wrote when I told you a son had been born:

“Dear Sean Ezra,

give yr dad

a hard

time.”





Josephine Miles
 
audio
   


THEODORE ROETHKE

 

            Once more the round…

I knew a poet, lovely in his bones,

Lovely in his bones was he

This poet took a sweet young wife

She was the solace of his life

And of his po-et-ry

And of his po-et-ry


Roethke
 
audio

 

   

CZESLAW MILOSZ

 

Mr. Eyebrows,

born 1911, pre-industrial Polish village—

(you can take the boy out of the village but..)

The poet: “faithful to real things

only by arranging them hierarchically”

Revolution

exists but not in this world (not Poland, not California)

“Revolutionary poetry becomes weak when it begins to extol the longed-for future as already realized, or in the process of realization, in a given part of the earth”

Catholicism arranges the fragmentary, agonized, suffering world

 “You”: “At the hour of the agony of death, help me with Your suffering

Which cannot save the world from pain”

“The purpose of poetry is to remind us

how difficult it is to remain just one person”
 

Milosz
 
audio 
   

HOWARD NEMEROV

 

A teaches Nemerov, while B hates form,

C barely reads at all, D says, “I’ll punt,”

E has great trouble simply keeping warm,

F tells her boyfriend, “Go to Helen Hunt”

G coughs, H sleeps with L, and then with Q

I barely understands this crazy poem

J has a fit, and K says, “I’ll have two”

It’s raining, so L spends the day at home

M shows his penis to the wrong man, N,

O prays to “God,” P writes a note to Q

R bites S, T receives the bird from U,

V says to W, “Oh, no, boo hoo!”

X answers Y by dousing him with glue

Z undertakes to have a Lovely Tryst,

Gives up free verse: “I yam a Formalist!”

                        Apologies to H. N. and his “A Primer of the Daily Round”



Nemerov
 
audio 
   

HELEN BREGER

 

she looks at us

looks at her

pencil

looks at the

page

looks at us

looks @ the

pencil the page the
looks at me

looks at the woman with me

is suddenly elsewhere then

looks intently

seeing

closes

her eyes for a moment

deciding:

 

a line can lead anywhere


Helen Breger
 
audio

 


Helen Breger (right)

Helen Breger is a widely exhibited artist whose work is in many private and some museum collections. Before her retirement she had a long, distinguished teaching career at California College of Arts and Crafts as well as the University of California at Berkeley.

Born in Vienna, she was educated at the Art Students League in New York, The San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco State University and California College of Arts and Crafts (MFA). She was a fellow at MacDowell Colony and in recent years studied bronze casting in Italy.

Website: Helen Breger

 


Jack Foley is a widely-published San Francisco poet known for his "spoken-word performances" which involve choruses. His Cover to Cover radio show, can be heard online at Berkley Radio KPFA www.kpfa.org
"Jack Dancing"
by Leonard Breger