George Oppen: From A Foxhole Poem by Dennis Ryan

George Oppen: From A Foxhole



Friday afternoon, January 18,2019 at 3: 10 p.m.; Thursday, May 12,2022

'The stiff lines of the twigs
Blurred by the April buds... '
- Charles Reznikoff, #19, from Poems (1920)

Wounded,
lying in a foxhole,
George Oppen recited
Charles Reznikoff's poems
over and over again;
'These gentle iron lines',
he later recalled, 'sustained me, rescued me.'
He never wavered in this conviction.
The nouns. The small nouns,
that they referenced something:
'To talk of the house and the neighborhood
and the docks. And it is not ‘art'.'
Speak about real things.
There was a certain way of speaking
about one's encounters with the world.
Things remain what they are.
The discourse is real, but not final.
He could believe in it.

Thursday, May 12, 2022
Topic(s) of this poem: real life,poetry,encounters,world,language,belief
POET'S NOTES ABOUT THE POEM
The American poet George Oppen (1908-1984) thought long and hard about the relationship between language, words, and what they represent.
COMMENTS OF THE POEM

Dennis Ryan

Wellsville, New York
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