In 1972 Michael Heller might have been one of the earliest settlers of the new super-genre of contemporary poetry, namely the Poem-as-Text-Message (soon followed by Poem-As-Drunk-Text-Message and the rebuttal This-Poem-Is-Not-A-Text-Message). In the poem “PRESSURE:” from the book ACCIDENTAL CENTER he writes:
But that’s not the poem I wanted to talk about. In another poem “THE BODY: A FABLE” Mr. Heller writes about Nietzsche. I always like poems where famous people feature as themselves/not themselves. I think it’s because of my limited attention span, that I need to have something like that that already holds a lot of info-energy that the poem then can disrupt and create something weird with. I always like fables because they’re so compressed, too compressed, things pushed together so tightly that it paradoxically seems to create a kind of poetical excess.
This is overall a very excellent poem… Michael Heller at his best… There is Nietzsche who becomes something rather strange, “wolfish”. That sounds like an awesome idea for a movie, like a zombie poets versus werewolf philosophers but shot really slow and grainy grey like Tarkovsky. I like this “shedding artifice after artifice”, the whimsical trend setter who is always starting new shit and never finishing old shit.
Poems should be full of new beginnings.
On another note, his poems that try to be erotic are pretty bad. There’s one where the narrator sees a woman in a bikini while someone is riding a horse and it’s just really bad like poems that try to be sensual or whatever and slip into that same language where everything is pale and smooth and bareback riding. Now if there was a bikini werewolf philosopher showdown, that would be awesome.
Anne Waldman has written of Michael Helller: “who has carried Oppen’s dictum that poetry embodies “precise”*
*Last quotation mark is mine, that’s not where the quote ends.
To find out how the quote ends, read “THIS CONSTELLATION IS A NAME”. It’s a really big book.
COMING SOON! REVIEWS OF MANY BOOKS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF, INCLUDING VERY EXCITING NEW AND OLD POETS WRITING ABOUT THINGS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF!
And REALLY wordpress? Are we going to have to put the poems in PAINT to be able to have some fucking format in here. Really.