Saturday, October 13, 2012

Schopenhauer's Troupe of Souls: The Poems of William Crawford

Will Crawford has two books of poems out now: Fire in the Marrow (NeoPoiesis Press, 2010) and Actual Tigers (Edgar & Lenore's Publishing House, 2012). 

Crawford's poems contain a coiled energy, which is released as they are read. This energy vivifies the souls moving through his poems. These people are moments or cross-sections of the (especially) modern human paradox – cartilage and emotion, viscera and expression, substance and duration. Tragedy and persistence. 

The people appearing in Crawford's poems ride a carousel of deep-gathered momentum. Implicit is the numinous (unknowable) force that through the skeletal fuse drives these forms of human spirit, propelling them into event and circumstance. These characters are instances of philosophy without their even realizing it. The ghost of Schopenhauer leans in to observe. And is bemused at how these expressions of life, torment, beauty, and melancholy – these human beings -- are immune from any compulsion for metaphysical context. They are what they are (intense fusions of unconscious will and stubborn being), and they are where they are (moving on action stages that could be secretly choreographed and directed by Werner Herzog).  

I've read and reread these Crawford poems. There are many possibilities of encounter and appreciation when reading poetry. I keep coming back to my thought about Schopenhauer and the numinous. I don't know if the poet intends what comes to me in this thought. Maybe it's just the way my mind skews. But I'm struck by what is "there" without being overtly suggested by the poet. What is implicit, yet powerfully so: the dark hidden region – the metaphysical penumbra – that arcs above dramas of bodies and souls. In other words, there is poetic power on the page and another, unwritten power hovering beyond the page.

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