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March 30, 1975 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1975-03-30

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Sunday, March 30, 1975

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

Sunday, Mardi 30, 1975 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five

Raab: Passionate about the
poetry, not the explanations

Be careful Witt
PROFI LEThere are ba
inthe woo(

h fire:

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By MARY LONG ' Horizon and another, The Col-r
IT WAS A bad day for poetry lector of Cold Weather, is on
readings. The weather had the way. He's received continoal
turned back into winter and at a support from grants and endow-
few minutes past four in the ments . since the day ne left
afternoon poet Lawrence Raab Syracuse University with a Mas-
was eyeing an audition dotted in ter of Arts in Creative Wri-ing.
isolated spots with little hand- He's in Ann Arbor as a mem-
fuls of people. ber of the University's So iety
Just a second ago, English of Fellows, to give guest lec-
professor Bert Hornback h a d tures and readings. He's not a
glanced at his watch and said in teacher - his job is writing
.soft reassurance, "I've only poetry.

what things mean or are sup'-
posed to mean" he says pa-
tiently. "A sense of mystery
has to be kept in poetry. After
all, poems don't draw merely on
what you can see or say. They
come from the memory, from
the subconscious, from dreams.
These things have power, of
course, when you use them in
poetry. But the power remains
mysterious, right?"
It really isn't a question. He's

"The materials of my dady
life" he says simply. "'One
views life as a person, not as
a writer."

got six after four, Larry" and
Raab had nodded hopefully, ................................................
casually lighting a cigarette in
appreciationqof time to spare. R member t your
But at a quarter past, when "Reme b rthat y u poetry has a
the attendance was no better,
the cigarette hit the floor and life of its own. A writer can return to
Raab whispered cheerfully at
Hornback, "I'm gonna go aheadwok rei tu td
and start" and nearly bounded his workto beinstruced by it. A good
to the lectern.
old poetwas all smiles, strid-lpoem," Lawrence RDaabsays, his dark
ing near the front of the audi-
torium like a big likeable cag- woolen scarf flapping in the cold
ed bear, shaking hands, blush-
ing a little at compliments, ano-'w n ob e i
.ther cigarette jabbed solidly in March wind that robbed him of his
the right corner. of his mouth.1
OUTWARDLY, he looks dis- audience, "a good poem knows more
armi n g- blue jeans and
a thick baggy white sweater, a than the poet knows."
balding head ending in d a r k
fluff, a build that would delight
a fight manager and round owl-.:.:.....: ......................:::::,:": : .":.;:.:.;.> .. : .. . . ..
ish eyes behind glasses that are
perfect circles. But when he PUT EVEN with this status sold on it. All of Raab's work
speaks Lawrence Raab is very: as a profesional poet, he expounds this need for a sense
much the artist of mystery, al- will do anything to avoid cues- of wonder about self-expression.
most inaccessible. tions that smack of "artiness" .He has always hated being porn-
Not that he doesn't have rea- Someone mentions "the poetic pous or obvious about poetry.
son to be pretty sure of him- experience" and he looks like he Years ago, when searching for
self. Pick up any of the pres- wants an aspirin. Even asking a definition of his own art for
tigious magazines: The N e w about his work causes him to himself, he turned to painters
Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, The shift slightly in his chair and and musicians rather than
Atlantic - and you will find glance around as if he were dy- writers, believing that o t I r
poems by Lawrence Raab. Dou- ing to be anywhere else. types of artists, being less ob-
bleday has published one book "Listen, I don't want to be sessed with the sound of their
of his poetry, Mysteries of the explaining, even to myself, own words, would ultimately be
_- ------------ more truthful.
j "Listen to what Renee Magrit-

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BUT PERSONAL experiences
are not the only sources
for his poetic gristmill. Des-
pite their generally "low brow"
reputation, Raab is crazy aboit ,
horror movies. In addition to'
writing a libretto based on Dra-
cula, his first book of poetry,
Mysteries of the Horizon co i
tains two marvelous poems nar-
rated by eloquent vampires.
"It's not an obsessin, reallT
it's not" he laughs. "It's just
that these horror movies sudden -
ly occurred to me one day
as being tremendous possibili-
ties for material. I was stru~ck
by certain statements in these
films. When you are workin n '
a poem with a fictional sitim-
tion that the audience is famil
iar with, you can play off their ,
expectations - give them a dif
ferent perspective that can be
so important. Like, for exam-
ple, -" he says, and after think-
ing a moment, quotes the last
lines from a poem based on the
film Attack of the Crab Mon-
sters: "Sweetheart, put down
your flamethrower / You know
I've always loved you".
When you laugh he nods sage-
ly and his hands punctuate the
air with brisk little karate chops
as he says eagerly, "You see?
You laugh, but out of t h a t
laughter a recognition comes,
right? You understand that the
body of the poem was solemn,
it dealt with a lack of welcome,
of sound, a lack of abiding life. Dai°
But the last line was silly, a
convention of the movies that do some things with language
you were expecting. It was a re- that you wanted to do. thaz you
lief and you laughed. I atemot knew you could do. end ihen,
to be amusing but disturbing. sometimes, you surprise yoar-
Under the humour something a self. At the point that you fin-
little darker is happening. Thal ally give it up, sometimes you
sneakers' feeling for the girt is have written things you don't
genuine - the degree of emo- quite know the source of, ac-
tional truth is strong." complished something strangely
Raab prides himself on bing beyonddwhat you thought you
a stickler for truth. H-e is could do."
haunted by the invasion of false- If Raab were inclined to cx-
hood into a world of beauty pounding absolutes, which he's
and truth. This belief and fear not, he'd claim the secret to all
lends an eerie atmosphere to his this creativity lies in being open
work. to as many experiences as pos-
"You know when something sible. Also in learning to see
vou have said is true" he says things clearly and to continua~lv
quietly, "and it must be true find new resources in those
for you and for the world of things that once moved you.
your poem. As a truth it takes
on its own voice -- it separates lJE'S WRITTEN words like
from you . ." that countless times - in
He halts, fingers drumming poems, in prose, in response to
the bony edge of the chair, tos questions. And he says the~m
tappingyon the carpet. He has again now, checking those three
moved into that shaky area of points off on his hands.
poetic rhetoric that he dislikes "Also - it's important to be
so intensely and he ends qoick- attentive to the possibilities of
ly: "If what you say in a poem different voices" he says, jab-
is truth, it stands alone, you bing an instructive finger in
needn't explain it". your direction.

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....
t

"Love,
thy 9
enemy"l
This is a religious precept that
challenges the mind. Love my en-
emy when I can barely deal calmly
with my in-laws? Yetthis hard say-
ing has validity in a world where
even a small act of violence has
such unforeseeable repercussions.
Scientific advances have heighten-
ed our mutual vulnerability. Only
love andnon-violence cansustain
us. We may concede violence is in
all of us. So is, God. Try His way.
It works. Get together with your
family, friends, neighbors, or co-
workers to discuss the problems of
violence and how you can work to-
gether to help solve them. For a
helpful discussion guide and fur-
ther information write: Religion In
American Life, 475 Fifth Ave., New
York, N.Y. 10017. Play an active
role in your community TAT1
and help show the way. ,ELCIONINAMEICAN UK
The community of Go.
Make it your way

lv Photo by KAREN KASMAUSKI
own. A writer can return to his
work to be instructed by it. A
good poem" he says, his dark'
woolen scarf flapping in the cold
March wind that robbed him of
his audience, "a good p .) e m,
knows more than the poet
knows.'"

READ and USE
DAILY CLASSIFIEDS

JERUSALEUM DINNER
Navy Bean Soup
Cous-Cous Pilaf
Stuffed Eggplant
Mideastern Salad
Matzoh
Date Yogurt
INDIAN SUMMER

te, the Belgian Post-Impression-
ist has to say about creation"
he explains. "He's not self-
conscious. You can't be self-
conscious and write poetry that3
holds emotional truth. Y o u
stick to literature and don't re-'
late the arts to each other and
you'll be sealed up in literatu:e,
overwhelmed by it."
[E IS VERY intense but he
has been made to speak like
the inspired artist and it is a:
role that makes him squirm vio-I
lently. So, after talking for a,
moment about which poets he
turns to when he has difficulty
writing ("someone like Yeas is
too overwhelming . . . 'I go t:
Mark Strand, W. S. Merwin, to
the contemporaries . . ."), itj
becomes obvious that he has had
it on the subject. He pushes
back the sleeve on the white!
sweater a little, as if he is
about to tackle a hard daysj
wash, and says: "Look. Therej
are matters you just can't af-
ford to know too much ab'mt.
You can't program yourself asI
a poet - saying, you kn w,
'I'll read this author when I
can't find an idea' or 'I draw i
an influence from so-and-so'. I
believe it's a danger to think
like that."
He admits he takes "a lot of
notes" in hope of getting a
poem started. His materials?

TODAY at
3 & 8p.m.
"A JOY! NEIL SIMON'S
BEST PLAY YET."
- Clive Barnes, N.Y. Times
EDDIE ARNY
BRACKEN FREEMAN
HCIKMN"5
NEW COMEDY
Professional Theatre Proqrom
MARCH 28-30, 1975
POWER CENTER
Eves. at 8 p.m.;
Sun. Mat. at 3 p.m.
Advance ticket sales & in-
forrnation- PTP ticket office.

i

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COLLOQUIUM:
""LATIN
AMERICANS
IN STRUGGLE"
auiI SUN[ PAZ in concert
,"' '"The Music of
'JIc. Latn America"
SUN., MAR. 30-8 P.M.
M L 3-$2.00
Sponsored by the Group on Latin American Issues
MLaiPZZZA&
VALUABLE COUPON 1
$100 of
Any Large or
Extra-Large Pizza I
with one or more items
OFFER GOOD THRU MON., MARCH 31, 1975
769-8030 U
ONE COUPON PER PIZZA
- - m m m m m m m - -111 m m
/7fft
s.

After 4 p.m.

315 S. State St.

u

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_T ____ _ _ _ _ __ _.__.. _ r
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THE POET admits he's been
having trouble writing late-
ly and though he hasn't panick-
ed yet he is suffering a kind of
continual disappointment.
"I haven't written a p oe m'
since last September and hat's
a long time. I've been working
on the manuscript for The Cd-
lector of Cold Weather and :hat
has been satisfying. But I mts
the fun of writing poetry. Writ-
ing is great fun for me - the
initial stages are discovery. You

I M rndcI frhnlobby, t 313
OPEN I P.M. TODAY Mneson3
I 7640450.. T ic kets also
available at Hudson's Briar-
BILLIARDS and wood.
BOWLING
PINBALL and
FOOSBALL
at the UNION

"But most of all, remember
that your poetry has a life of its

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OFFICE HOURS
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