Every word in every language is a vehicle of feeling, even those that seem to be nothing but logical operators—in fact they are relational words, and what is more imbued with feeling than relation? Or so William James asserted in his Principles of Psychology (1890), observing that "a feeling of and, a feeling of if" have just as much substance as "a feeling of blue or a feeling of cold." It is this sense of the emotional shading of each word that we expereince in Barry Schwabsky’s fourth book of poetry, Feelings Of And.
In these poems, the waning sun gets its claws into you, darkness undresses in darkness and space folds itself around you. In the tradition of Pierre Reverdy, his poetry recombines shards from a multitude of overheard, misheard, or never-before-heard utterances into constructions that are as firm as monuments and as passionate and iconic as the laments of troubadours. Like Jack Spicer, he tunes into frequencies that invade our everyday perceptions from elsewhere. The only rule he allows himself: Accept each poem as if it is the last.
Barry Schwabsky was born in Paterson, NJ and lives in Long Island, NY. He is art critic for The Nation as well as co-editor of international reviews for Artforum, and has written many books of criticism and poetry.
Feelings Of And by Barry Schwabsky
The poems seem to yield to poetry rather than trying to snare or create it - poetry inundates and the reader is like a component drifting through, turned around among the refreshed and refreshing words and phrases, thoughts and images; luxe, calm and voluptuous in Feelings Of And.