Tuesday, July 16, 2013

on not being lew welch

it took me a while to really really really fall in love with lew welch.  but i have.  some years ago when Tower Books, Records, Video was still around i found in the poetry section welch's collected ring of bone and his essay collection how i work as a poet.  the cashier told me someone had ordered those books but hadn't picked them up [by the by i found denise riley's selected poems the same way at a waterstones in london.  someone ordered the book but never collected it].  i say that is being a serendipitous find.

i lucked out as welch was the poet i needed at the time.  and fell hard i did for the great man.  okay fine but how's that on not being lew welch?  well, this week i've been making preparations for a camping trip.  nick and i are heading for lassen state park for a cub scout outing.  now, i grew up camping and i loved it.  the grit, the tent, the roaring campfire, the company.  nick loves camping and all that goes with it.  for me, it's kind of painful to sleep on hard, rocky ground in a sleeping bag. 

lew welch loved it too.  he lived for years in a cabin and wrote many of those grand poems in the forests.  i don't love it anymore.  i am a sub urban child and prefer a hotel room with a toilet and a tap with hot and cold running water.  i believe in what gary snyder calls our own nature being cities, structures, organization.  nature is us, we are nature, we can't escape it because we are part of this earth.

don't get me wrong.  i love what, again, snyder calls wildness, the ecology of mountains and rivers and oceans.  i just prefer a more urban setting.  not like welch who loved being in the wild. 

i have welch on the brain.  i think i am the better for it even if i make some piddly comparison between me and lew welch.  but well hell, poets are, i claim, all brothers and sisters, the living writers and the dead ones. 

our packing is nearly done.  nick is beside himself in anticipation of the hikes and the critters he will find.  i'll go too and expect nothing.  i will just do and have a great time. 


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