Hayden Carruth, dead at 87

Another artistic genius dead this week.  Man, this week stinks.

This time it’s Hayden Carruth, who was a poet I first discovered in junior high and have loved ever since.  (Dude, he wrote a poem about chainsaws.  That’s just rad-squared times infinity plus one, yo.)

In his honor, one of my favorites (my apologies for bad formatting here, if it does indeed turn out badly):

Of Distress Being Humiliated by the Classical Chinese Poets

Masters, the mock orange is blooming in Syracuse without
scent, having been bred by patient horticulturalists
To make this greater display at the expense of fragrance.
But I miss the jasmine of my back-country home.
Your language has no tenses, which is why your poems can
never be translated whole into English;
Your minds are the minds of men who feel and imagine
without time.
The serenity of the present, the repose of my eyes in the cool
whiteness of sterile flowers.
Even now the headsman with his great curved blade and rank
odor is stalking the byways for some of you.
When everything happens at once, no conflicts can occur.
Reality is an impasse. Tell me again
How the white heron rises from among the reeds and flies
forever across the nacreous river at twilight
Toward the distant islands.

You can read more of his stuff here:  http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/232

3 Responses to “Hayden Carruth, dead at 87”

  1. megwood Says:

    By the way, I’m counting this is the third of the “these things always come in threes” jinx. 1) David Foster Wallace, 2) Paul Newman, 3) Hayden Carruth. So, I think we can relax now. Unless the Holy Deity o’ Jinxes pulls the rug out from underneath us. AGAIN.

    That bastard.

  2. Hollie Says:

    Oh, that poem is lovely. Just lovely.

  3. melindam Says:

    That first line is just amazing!

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