Thursday, April 5, 2012

Will Crawford's clarity, memory, and sense of the real

I recently read a new poem by Will Crawford. It presented, for me, the emblematic features of his style and art.


This poet has a way of saying things clearly, without affectation. No trace of grandiloquence. Yet there is a pervasive eloquence moving through the images and language of his poems. Will's brain must be an amazing organ. The mind it secretes seems to have a thousand open eyes cleansed of those murky "floaters" that make seeing a dubious affair. And in the clarity of seeing, he is able to also see words moving directly into phenomena.


It's almost spooky. How Will can look so far into the past and gather up moments just-how-they-were. This is deeper than Zen. This is more like having a trail of one's molecules spread over time. And those quanta of experience communicate to present thought from across the gone spaces. A form of photographic being.

Sense of the real

Some of us can only or mostly write as if on the outskirts of the concrete and the actual. We are rhapsodizers and mongers of the fabulistic market. We gaze dreamily at exotic and gleaming fishes of possibility. Mr. Crawford instead takes what's there or what was and goes into its pores. Of course, the real is always up for grabs. But like some famous guy said, when you stub your toe on a stone, the real gets down to cases quickly. The people he writes about are written about just so. Quiddity, pith, mass, and weight under the gravitas of circumstance. But since Will is a poet, his words bring from his subjects a symbolic resonance. The particular and the circumstantial become, between his lines, the universal and the mysteriously tragic.


  1. Will Crawford is a true gift and one of my favorite poets. His work flows with conviction and grace.