Friday, November 13, 2009

Jack Wiler

One of the reasons I actually ordered this book from Amazon is that when Sarah Sarai wrote about it in her blog, she mentioned that the style was very different from hers, (she's an interesting blog writer), and different from her usual fascinations (this is not an exact quote) but that she really liked (I'm sure she used a more emphatic word) his work.

She was writing a farewell to an admired poet, but could not use any of his work on the blog since his family had requested that it not be quoted. (for the near future?)

Instead of going to his website, as she suggested, I just bought the book. Happily. It's my cup of tea. Very spare, acerbic, not an extra word anywhere, sort of depressed, but full of gumption. The story of a man who's dying, but still living, of his sickness, his curiosity, his vitality. He walks down the street, one step at a time, lies in bed dying, one breath, another, he doesn't die, more long, slim poems, his dog scratches herself on the kitchen floor, pared down, straight lines. No extraneous words.

I have very little love for words. And think that sentences should be pared down as much as possible and even then they don't say much. As I tell a poet friend, I think words are miserable, lying bastards. But I still love them, in limited quantity.  And Jack Wiler surely limits his quantity. 

He has another book. It was more expensive and I bought this one since it's the one that Sarah had mentioned. Thanks!


  1. Convoluted? How dare thee! :)
    I am pretty sure my sentences don't defy proper syntax. I hope they defy simplicity.
    Glad you enjoyed, Jack. That's the main thing, my friend.

  2. I'm so sorry that my words were careless...I like Sarah Sarai's blog, as I thought I implied by saying it's interesting and by reading it regularly. There's not enough time in the world to read blogs one doesn't like. So, I apologize profusely.
    I have a poet friend who is truly in love with the most complex, arcane words and we are able to laugh about the fact that I think words are lying, cheating bastards and she's in love and comforted by them.
    If the word convoluted upset Sarah, I'm sorry. It wasn't meant as an insult...